Cadre of GOP senators blasts Tuberville's block on military promotions

November 4, 2023

As Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) continues to stand firm on blocking military promotions over a Pentagon abortion policy, a group of five colleagues from within his own party broke with the conservative lawmaker, taking to the chamber floor to blast his actions, as Breitbart reports.

At issue is Tuberville's prior decision to exercise a hold on the Senate's power to bulk-confirm hundreds of military promotions, doing so in protest of a Defense Department policy that would pay for time off as well as travel and accommodation costs for service members seeking abortions.

The Biden administration promulgated that new policy in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, but Tuberville contends that it represents a violation of the Hyde Amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.

As Tuberville has pointed out, his block does not stop the Senate from facilitating individual military promotions, only those done in large groups.

On Thursday, however, five of Tuberville's GOP colleague in the Senate – including Lindsey Graham (SC), Todd Young (IN), Mitt Romney (UT), Dan Sullivan (AK), and Joni Ernst (IA) made their opposition known.

To make their point, the senators spent over four hours bringing forward the names of potential promotion recipients, speaking in support of them individually, as The Hill explains.

Sullivan, himself a Marine Corps veteran, declared, “America needs to have our best players, most combat-capable leaders on the field. And right now, that's not happening. It needs to change.”

Pointing to the detrimental effect on military readiness he believes Tuberville's tactic to be producing, Sullivan also said, “There is growing bitterness within the ranks of our military driven by this fact. 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.”

Addressing Tuberville in a direct fashion, Graham asked, “If this is the norm, who the hell wants to serve in the military when your promotion can be canned based on something you had nothing to do with?”

“If this gets to be normal, god help the military because every one of us could find some reason to object to policy,” Graham added.

Young pointed out that while he has “a lot of respect” for Tuberville and noted that he also personally has a pro-life stance, he cannot agree with the “tactics” of halting military promotions, saying that his colleague's stubborn approach “doesn't make sense.”

Romney, for his part, said of Tuberville's strategy, “It's simply...an abuse of the power we have as senators.”

As of Wednesday, Tuberville appeared undeterred, saying that he would hold firm until the Pentagon changes course and the Senate holds an up or down vote on the matter.

“This is a policy that is illegal and immoral. I support many of these nominees, and I agree that these are very important jobs, but we cold have been voting on these nominees the entire nine months,” Tuberville said, but with a group of Democrats plotting an effort to sidestep the block through a procedural maneuver, just how much longer his gambit will succeed is something that remains to be seen.