Tuberville says he will block military promotions ‘forever’

  • More than 300 military promotions have been blocked by Sen. Tuberville
  • Tuberville: 'We could be confirming two to three of these a day'
  • Austin: It's 'well past time' to confirm the rest of the military nominees

(NewsNation) — The Senate voted last week to approve three out of more than 300 military promotions blocked by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy.

Now, Tuberville, who has been holding out on pushing through the hundreds of promotions for months, appears to be flipping the script on Democratic lawmakers.

“We could be confirming two to three of these a day if they wanted to, but they don’t want to,” Tuberville told “NewsNation Now.”

He continued: “This is all going to be left up to Sen. Schumer.”

Considering the impasse, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., filed a motion last week to vote individually on a trio of nominees whose confirmations had been held by Tuberville.

“I got three of these people confirmed last week. I did. Chuck Schumer didn’t do it,” Tuberville said. “I forced his hand. So, if he wants to do more of them, let’s go. Let’s get them done this week.”

Schumer fears the move to vote individually may leave a lasting impact on the Senate.

“The decision by the senior senator from Alabama will have long-lasting repercussions that may not be apparent right away, but we may come to regret,” Schumer said. “I believe we will come to regret them.”

He added, “We cannot allow Sen. Tuberville to decide which of our dedicated and brave service members get promoted and which get to languish.”

Tuberville has hit the pause button on military promotions, freezing the ability to vote on several nominations at once and slowing down the traditional confirmation process. He insists he’s not letting up anytime soon.

When asked how long he would continue the blockade, Tuberville replied, “Forever. I’m not giving in.”

It’s all part of his efforts to compel the Pentagon to overturn its abortion travel policy and allow Congress to vote on it.

The policy pays for service members to travel across state lines to obtain abortions. Tuberville’s stance is if the Pentagon policy is brought to a vote and not approved through legislation, then service members would not be able to receive leave and reimbursement for transportation costs incurred by traveling across state lines to abortion providers.

“The American people deserve, on such a controversial topic, to have a vote on this, and that’s what I’m trying to get,” Tuberville said.

When addressing the holds, Biden administration officials have pointed to an opinion issued last year by the Department of Justice, saying U.S. law only restricts the use of federal funds to “perform abortions” but doesn’t prohibit the use of funds to pay per diem or travel expenses.

The Pentagon maintains Tuberville’s actions are “damaging” to national security and place military leaders in a tough position.

“What we will still continue to do here at the Pentagon is to highlight how damaging this is for our national security, for our readiness, for our military families,” Sabrina Singh, deputy press secretary at the Pentagon, told NewsNation in a previous interview. “That’s something that a senator who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee should really understand.”

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said it’s “well past time” to confirm the remaining military nominees.

“The brave men and women of the U.S. military deserve to be led by highly qualified generals and flag officers at this critical moment for our national security. And their families, who also sacrifice so much every day on our behalf, deserve certainty and our nation’s unwavering support,” Austin said. “I will continue to personally engage with members of Congress in both parties until all of these well-qualified, apolitical officers are confirmed.”

The current hold is affecting roughly 300 general and flag-officer nominations and the transition of leadership within the Department of Defense.

The Hill contributed to this report.


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