After over nine months of holding up military promotions, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) announced Tuesday that he is releasing his hold on leadership nominees except for four-star generals.
Tuberville has faced massive backlash for months over his decision to refuse approval of military nominees in one block in protest of the Biden administration’s policy of funding abortion-related expenses for service members to travel to other states to procure abortions if their state of residence has legal restrictions.
In response, the Senate rules committee passed a resolution last month to bypass Tuberville's holds. Tuberville initially did not believe the rule change would have the necessary GOP support to pass but changed his tune recently, expressing concern that Senate Democrats would get the nine Republican votes needed to pass.
In light of mounting pressure and the possibility of being subverted, Tuberville announced he would release most of his holds after conferring with the GOP caucus.
“It’s been a long fight,” Tuberville said. “We’ve fought hard. We did the right thing for the unborn and for our military, fighting back against executive overreach and an abortion policy that’s not legal. That being said, Senator Schumer changed the rules on us on the NDAA. And when you change the rules, it’s hard to beat somebody.”
He continued, “The big thing is, we’re all together in our caucus, that nobody – it will be 100% – who will vote against any standing order that would change the rules of the Senate for these holds.”
The changing rules Tuberville referenced come from a meeting in which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reportedly nixed the House version of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The House version of the NDAA removed the DOD policy, but Schumer allegedly refused to include the abortion policy in the final version of the NDAA.
“We had a conference supposedly last week of the House and the Senate getting together and voting on controversial subjects to stay in or go out of the NDAA,” Tuberville said. “We had no say. The leadership did that.”
Tuberville released holds on hundreds of personnel, except for just over 10 four-star generals, who Tuberville will ask to be approved individually.
“I think that where our military is today, our top, top leaders need to be vetted just like everybody else,” Tuberville said. “They need to be vetted. We need to know who they are and why they are making all the decisions of our military. It’s so, so important.”
While expressing displeasure in releasing the holds due to Senate politics, Tuberville announced no regrets in maintaining his position for so long, stating that he was forced to protest a perceived unconstitutional DOD policy since he’s a minority member of the Senate.
“The only opportunity you got to get the people on the left up here to listen to you [while] in the minority is to put a hold on something, and that’s what we did,” Tuberville continued. “I think we opened their eyes a little bit. We didn’t get the win that we wanted. We've still got a bad policy. We tried to stand up for the taxpayers of this country. We’ve got executive overreach. I ran to be elected to vote for the people of Alabama, and I did not get to vote for the people of Alabama for this new policy that they put in the military.”
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