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Rep. Ruben Gallego speaking with Axios reporter Russell Contreras at an Axios event on Wednesday.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said at an Axios event Wednesday that a disadvantage of having fewer U.S. military veterans in Congress is having less checks on the military and the Department of Defense.

Driving the news: There were 91 lawmakers who have served in the military at the start of the current session of Congress, according to Military Times — the lowest number since at least World War II.

  • In 1973, three-quarters of Congress had served, compared to a sixth today, per Military Times.

What he's saying: "[At] times, I've seen members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, be way too deferential to Department of Defense generals [...] not calling to question things that really should be called question — that should be part of our oversight, " Gallego said Wednesday.

  • "It's to the detriment to the men and women in the military. I mean, this is how you end up in 20-year wars because there were just not enough people that were willing to say to some of these generals that you see on TV all the time, you're wrong. It's time to leave."

Go deeper

Pentagon to probe 2019 Syria strike after reports of dozens of civilian casualties

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Nov. 20. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a new investigation into a 2019 U.S. airstrike that killed around 80 people, including dozens of women and children in Syria, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The move comes after the Times reported this month that the Pentagon attempted to keep the strike and casualties under wraps, failing to investigate the decision behind it even after questions were raised internally.

2 hours ago - Health

FDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill

The Merck Cherokee Plant in Riverside, Pa. Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An FDA advisory panel on Tuesday voted 13-10 to endorse an antiviral pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat adults at high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, despite concerns over its effectiveness and safety.

Why it matters: Oral antiviral drugs designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be key pandemic-fighting tools, if proven effective, especially as new variants emerge. If authorized, the Merck drug, known as molnupiravir, would be the first treatment of its kind to be made available in the United States.

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 6 wounded

Screengrab: CBSN

Three people dead and six others are wounded after a shooting at a high school in Michigan according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Driving the news: The alleged shooter was a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School and has been arrested, per police.