Despite opposition from five fellow Republican U.S. Senators, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) was able to withstand an effort to remove his months-long hold on military promotions over the Biden administration's refusal to reconsider the Pentagon's policy on military personnel abortions.
The GOP senators coming out against Alabama's senior U.S. Senator were U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).
Despite telling reporters he was as "pro-life as they come," Sullivan unleashed his critique of Tuberville's hold in a floor speech on Wednesday.
"There is growing bitterness within the ranks of our military driven by this fact," Alaska's Sullivan said. "The men and women in the military who've served our country so well for decades … have made huge sacrifices, multiple deployments, now their careers are being punished over a policy dispute that they had nothing to do with and no power to resolve."
Tonight, @DanSullivan_AK is proud to provide hyperbolic Twitter fodder for the Biden campaign as he seeks to undermine one of the most courageous efforts of civilian oversight of the military from @SenTuberville— William Thibeau (@WilliamThibeau) November 1, 2023
He should check the list of holds. 40% support DEI. Almost 4 dozen… https://t.co/5iDV0U4MCo
"The idea that some of these officers are supposedly woke or desk jockeys, it's ridiculous," he added.
Despite the criticism from his colleagues, Tuberville insisted his holds did not have the stated impact his colleagues had claimed.
"I have to respectfully disagree with my colleagues about the effect of my hold on readiness," he said. "My hold is not affecting readiness."
Despite the hours-long Senate floor ordeal, Tuberville's holds are still in place.
Tommy Tuberville blocks 61 military nominees tonight — in tense hours-long session where he endured sharp criticism from his fellow GOP sens pressing him to back off his holds of hundreds of military promotions. “I think this has been enlightening,” a frustrated Dan Sullivan says— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 2, 2023
In earlier remarks, Tuberville explained his position:
Nine months ago, the Pentagon announced by memo that they would start using our taxpayer dollars to facilitate abortion. The Pentagon is now paying for travel and extra time off for service members and their dependents to get abortions. Congress never voted for this. We also never appropriated the money for this. There is no law that allows them to do this. In fact, there is a law that says they can't do this.
One more time. There is a law that says they can't do this. Created in this room. It's 10 USC Section 1093. It says the only time the Pentagon can spend taxpayer dollars on abortion is in cases of rape, incest, and threat to the health of the mom. So, this is a policy that is illegal and immoral. This is about life. And it's also about the rule of law. It's about our Constitution. It's about whether we make laws at the Pentagon or whether we follow the Constitution.
This is also about the integrity of our military. The only thing in this world honor more than our military is the Constitution. We all swore to uphold the Constitution. I also feel very strongly about the obligation to uphold it every day in this room. I cannot simply sit idly by while the bottle administration injects politics and our military, again injects politics and our military from the White House and spends taxpayer dollars on abortion.
The only power that a senator in the minority has is to put a hold on a nomination. The only thing I'm not the first person to do this holds on nominations happen all the time. Hold on military nominations have happened many, many, many, many times before.
Typically, they don't last as long because the administration will work with a senator until the issue is resolved. But that has not happened this time—zero negotiation. Abortion is the most important thing to the Democrats that they have. And they won't negotiate it one more time. Abortion is the most important thing that Democrats have, and they will not negotiate.
This has been going on for nine months. Every day, this continues as a day that Democrats think abortion is more important than the nomination and our military. I support many of these nominees, and I agree that these are very, very important jobs, but we could have been voting on these nominees for the entire nine months. The Senate has had more than 90 days off this year, not including weekends. Each nomination could take as little as two hours.
In fact, tomorrow, we'll be voting on three of the most important nominees that we forced the leader of the Senate to bring it to the floor. The nominees at the very top ought to be voted on anyway. These jobs are too important not to receive the advice and consent of the Senate. I have to respectfully disagree with my colleagues about the effect of my hold on readiness. My hold is not affecting readiness.
The Biden administration had been saying this for months, but nobody has an explanation. Nobody. The fact is no jobs. No jobs are going unfilled. Every job is being done. In fact, General Mark Milley said recently that our readiness is the best it has been in years. Time and again, generals and service members have assured me that they're ready to go, I believe.
So, I'm going to keep my holds in place. If senators want to vote on these nominees one by one, I'm all in. I'm happy to do that. But I will keep my hole in place until the Pentagon follows the law or the Democrats change the law.
This is about our Constitution. This is about the rule of law. That's what we're about in here. It's about the integrity of our military. It's about keeping politics, politics out of the military. I did not put it in the military. Joe Biden. Inspector Austin put politics in the military. And it's about the right to life. These are some of the most important things in the world to me.
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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