Five Republicans break with Tuberville, opposing his block on military promotions

 November 2, 2023

Five establishment Republicans pushed back on Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)'s ongoing block on confirming military promotions on Thursday, giving the first strong opposition to his action, taken because of rules changes that amounted to the federal government paying for female military members to travel out of state for abortions.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Todd Young (R-IN), Mitt Romney (R-MA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) all spoke out in turn against Tuberville, with Romney calling his actions an "abuse of power."

Tuberville withdrew his consent from the confirmations, slowing them down and forcing votes on each one rather than the automatic and blanket way they are usually done.

"At odds"

As The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway pointed out in a tweet, over 40% of the proposed promotions are of officers who support the Biden administration's DEI and left-wing ideology, which she called "at odds with an effective fighting force."

A move is planned for 6 p.m. on Thursday, although it is unclear what the move will be or who will be involved.

Tuberville has argued that the Biden administration's use of taxpayer dollars to give paid time off and pay for travel for military women to get abortions violates the Hyde Amendment.

"Congress never voted"

"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," he said when laying out his justification for the block.

"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," he continued. "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."

"The only power that a senator in the minority has is to put a hold on a nomination," he argued. "Holds 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," he noted. "Zero negotiation. Abortion is the most important thing to the Democrats that they have. And they won’t negotiate it one more time."

A way around

Tuberville also pointed out that it would take, in his estimation, about two hours to vote on each nominee and that he supports doing so.

Instead, Democrats have accused Tuberville of affecting military readiness with the holds. This does not appear to be true if Democrats can approve them one by one.

The issue, Tuberville said, is about "integrity" of the military and keeping politics out of it. He plans to keep his block in place until the issues are dealt with.

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