Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., is standing firm in his decision to block more than 300 military promotions amid growing pressure from Senate Republican colleagues.
The Senate Armed Service Committee has approved 273 promotions that are stuck on the floor because of Tuberville’s hold, The Hill reported. The panel still needs to act on roughly 40 nominations sent by the Department of Defense.
Tuberville began blocking confirmation after the Pentagon announced in February it would pay for the travel and accommodation for troops and their families to get abortions if they were based in a state that doesn’t allow the procedure.
In the Senate, one senator can hold up nominations or legislation even if the other 99 want it to move forward.
Tuberville on Tuesday told Newsmax the ball is in the hands of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on how to deal with his unanimous consent hold.
“This could be handled very easily,” Tuberville said on “Rob Schmitt Tonight.” “Chuck Schumer, just bring them to the floor. Let’s confirm them. Let’s work a little bit around here. Don’t worry about anything other than work and get the job done for the American people. … They can do them one at a time.”
“Look, the bottom line is this is a Republican problem. Don’t pawn it off on us,” Schumer said, The Hill reported. “It was created by Tuberville solely himself and it’s up to the Republicans to put pressure on him to back off, plain and simple. We’re already seeing that pressure mount,” Schumer said. “The pressure is mounting. Tuberville should back off.”
Some of Tuberville’s GOP colleagues have criticized the senator’s stance, too.
“I think holding these non-policy-making career military [officials] who can’t be involved in politics at all is a mistake and we continue to work on that and I hope at some point we can get it clear,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters on Tuesday.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and ranking member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, urged Tuberville to limit his holds to policy-making positions, The Hill reported.
“I’m very concerned about it and hope that Sen. Tuberville will reconsider and narrow his focus to only those individuals who have policy responsibilities,” Collins said.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, said Tuberville’s holds are “paralyzing the Department of Defense.”
“The idea that one man in the Senate can hold this up for months, I understand maybe promotions, but nominations,” McCaul said during the weekend.
“I think that is a national security problem and a national security issue. And I really wish he would reconsider this.”
Tuberville dismissed the prospect of voting for a bill sponsored by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and John Kennedy, R-La., to restrict the Secretary of Defense’s ability to provide paid leave and transportation for service members seeking an abortion.
The Alabama senator wants the Pentagon to reverse its policy and then for Congress to vote on the issue. He says Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin didn’t have the legal authority to change the department’s policy with “a memo.”
Charlie McCarthy ✉
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
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