Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., told Newsmax on Thursday he called the bluff of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who proceeded with individual votes on the Senate floor for the confirmation of senior military nominations after previously refusing to do so.
Tuberville has blocked more than 300 senior military promotions and nominations because of his stance against the Pentagon’s policy of using taxpayer dollars to cover travel expenses for service members’ abortions. Usually, such nominations and promotions are done by a voice vote or unanimous consent, but Tuberville said the Senate will have to do it one by one, which would take up most of the chamber’s time.
Schumer had been against that, fearing it would encourage other senators to use the same tactic.
Tuberville told “American Agenda” he was going to take the unusual move of getting 17 signatures to force a cloture vote on Marine commandant nominee Gen. Eric Smith. Such procedural votes are rarely done by individual senators; the job is usually handled by the majority leader, in this case Schumer.
“This wasn’t Chuck Schumer and the Democrats bringing it to the floor,” Tuberville said. “What I decided to do was call their bluff.”
Tuberville said Schumer caught wind of his plan, because it must go through the majority leader, and went ahead and scheduled floor votes on Smith, Marine Corps Gen. Charles Brown, the nominee for chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Army Gen. Randy George, nominee for Army chief of staff.
“He got word that we were going to do it and so he jumped us,” Tuberville said, “and basically said, ‘We can’t let them do it. We’re going to do it ourselves.’ And so, we got him to confirm. But that’s what I wanted.”
It takes 51 voters to break a cloture petition and proceed with Senate business. All three nominees easily cleared cloture votes. Brown was confirmed Wednesday by an 83-11 vote, and Smith (96-0) and George (96-1) were confirmed Thursday. Tuberville voted against Brown but voted for Smith and George.
“I wanted people to see that he can actually confirm these people,” Tuberville said. “I cannot put a hold on them if they do them one at a time, so we went through regular order, [and] they got it done. It was a big win for the legislative branch of the government, where we actually get to vote on things, and it’s not confirmed or memoed from the White House or the Pentagon.”
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Michael Katz ✉
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and poltics.
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