(NewsNation) — In protest of the Pentagon’s abortion policy, Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., has reportedly blocked at least 184 military promotions. Tuberville says he warned defense officials he would put holds on their nominees in advance.
“They were warned in advance, but they did it anyway,” Tuberville said in an interview with NewsNation host Dan Abrams.
Tuberville, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is concerned with the Department of Defense providing leave to service members traveling to different states for reproductive health care, including abortions, as well as helping with expenses.
According to reports, the Department of Defense does not pay for abortions unless the life of the mother is endangered or when rape or incest is a factor. The Pentagon says 91 abortions of those kind were conducted at military medical treatment facilities between 2016 and 2021.
“What’s happened is since Roe v. Wade went back to states like it should have, they’re trying to use taxpayer dollars any way they can to fund travel and time off for service members to get abortions without any restrictions. We’ve had an abortion policy, but they just went around Congress, and said ‘We’re going to do this on our own,’” Tuberville said.
He continued: “That’s not how you do things in Washington, D.C. It’s not how they’re going to do things with me, with the ability to put a block and put holds on their nominees. I told them that beforehand, if you do this, I’m going to block them.”
President Joe Biden’s Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin previously said there will be “powerful effects” on military readiness if Tuberville continues blocking Pentagon nominees.
“Not approving the recommendations for promotions actually creates a ripple effect in the force that makes us far less ready than we need to be,” the defense secretary said in March. “The effects are cumulative and it will affect families, it will affect kids going to schools … it’s a powerful effect and it will impact our readiness.”
The White House also spoke against stalling by Tuberville.
“This political showmanship could have a serious impact on our military readiness, on our military forces and our national security,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in April.
And, it’s also not sitting well with some Republicans.
When asked about Tuberville’s blockade, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters: “No, I don’t support putting a hold on military nominations. I don’t support that.”
Still, Tuberville remains dogged in his stance.
“Everything that they touch, they’ve ruined. Now, they want to ruin and turn us into a woke military, and I’m not going to put up with it,” Tuberville said.
Tuberville’s blocks drag out the voting process. Rather than approving promotions in batches, senators must vote on each nomination. By the end of the year, the buildup of nominations could include roughly 650 senior military officers.
Tuberville has vowed not to back down until the Pentagon’s abortion policy is repealed.