Renata Kiss, FISM News
Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville (Ala.) lifted his 10-month hold on military promotions on Tuesday, effectively ending his blockade.
“I’m releasing everybody. I still got a hold on, I think, 11 four-star generals. Everybody else is completely released from me,” Tuberville told reporters.
Following the announcement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) quickly confirmed the promotions of more than 425 senior military officials who had been on hold since February.
“I want to say, in regarding Senator Tuberville, in regards to Tuberville finally lifting his unnecessary and harmful holds on our nation’s military officials, I’m happy that we can finally move forward and give these men and women the promotions they deserve. I plan to move these promotions as soon as possible, possibly later this afternoon,” said Schumer on Tuesday.
He added that Tuberville’s blockade was a “risky strategy” and warned anyone else trying to attempt something like this in the Senate.
“Let this incident be a warning. No one — no one — should attempt this in the Senate again. The senior senator from Alabama has nothing to show for his 10 months of delay.”
President Joe Biden echoed Schumer’s statement saying that the “confirmations are long overdue and should never have been held up in the first place.”
The Republican senator started blocking military nominations earlier this year because he deemed the Pentagon’s decision to reimburse travel expenses for abortion seekers, illegal.
Tuberville believed the military’s policy went against the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade and vowed to maintain the hold until Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin changed course or Tuberville got a straightforward vote on the issue.
But the conservative senator’s stance received major blowback from both sides of the aisle. His critics argued that Tuberville’s decision posed potential threats to national security while causing a “detrimental effect” on servicemembers.
In response to the blockade, a group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced a change of rules in the Senate Rules Committee in October, hoping that this would allow them to continue military promotions through 2024.
And their plan succeeded. Tuberville cited the new change of rules in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which forced him to let go of the blockade.
“I’d love to have had five downs in football instead of four, but you can’t do it, said the former football coach turned Senator. “It’s got to be fair for everybody.”