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Senator Tuberville lifts abortion-related blockade on some US military promotions

Published 12/05/2023, 01:34 PM
Updated 12/05/2023, 07:26 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) speaks with reporters on the way to the Senate floor for a procedural vote regarding top military appointees at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 20, 2023.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Republican U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville, who has blocked hundreds of military promotions for months to protest the Pentagon's payment of abortion-related travel costs, said on Tuesday he would lift his hold on some of them.

Shortly afterward, the Senate's Democratic majority leader, Chuck Schumer, took to the Senate floor to confirm hundreds of the stalled promotions. Since there were no objections, they all went through.

"425 highly-qualified, patriotic military leaders have now been confirmed by the Senate," President Joe Biden said in a statement.

"These confirmations are long overdue, and should never have been held up in the first place."

Pentagon leaders have said the holds threatened national security, and Tuberville, a social conservative from Alabama, has not lifted them all.

"I've still got a hold on, I think, 11 four-star generals. Everybody else is completely released by me," he told reporters.

"It was pretty much a draw. They didn't get what they wanted. We didn't get what we wanted," he said.

The Pentagon said it was encouraged by his decision.

"We'll continue to stay engaged with Senator Tuberville and the Senate directly to urge that all the holds on all our general and flag officer nominations be lifted to include those nominated for four star," Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told reporters.

"Anytime you add a level of uncertainty into the chain of command, it creates an unnecessary friction. It has an impact on readiness," Ryder said.

Schumer told reporters: "One thing I would say, Senator Tuberville, I hope no one does this again."

In a statement, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly responded to the news with three words: "About damn time."

Tuberville began blocking confirmations to senior Pentagon posts in March to protest a U.S. military policy enacted in 2022 that provides paid leave and reimburses costs for service members who travel to get an abortion.

The policy was introduced after the Supreme Court last year overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized a constitutional right to abortion.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) speaks with reporters on the way to the Senate floor for a procedural vote regarding top military appointees at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 20, 2023.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Democrats have said Tuberville should show his objection to a policy matter by targeting Biden nominees involved with policy, not uniformed officers who enact those policies.

In August, the Navy, Marine Corps and Army were all without a Senate confirmed chief.

Latest comments

Piece of advice. The human specie has evolved from the Cowboy mentality where every man is for himself. The republican still cannot accept this and hate all kinds of initiative where we work together for a better life for all. Europe have several countries where the model of people paying taxes gets free education, free abortion if needed, free healthcare and money if you get sick so that you whole world doesnot fall.
...... provides paid leave and reimburses costs for service members who travel to get an abortion......Well, young lady, this is your third year and you're still in boot camp.  Care to explain how you've been serving our troops?
BS !  This whole discussion is about what us, the U.S. taxpayers are paying for, not a private business, regardless of my previous analogy.  You seem fine with our soldiers getting knocked up ( and us footing the bill for an all expense paid abortion vacation), while they are supposed to be fighting for and protecting our country.  Getting a piece in a front line ditch is not what we are paying for.
if you are discussing what US taxpayers are paying for , then why do you bring up comparison to private sector benefit offering?
So you seem to think that, for example, let's say a  female cop goes out partying, puts out a piece to a friend, and get's pregnant.  Now the taxpayers should foot the entire bill for her travel expenses for going elsewhere, pay for her abortion, and pay her for her time out of work for all this??  Pardon the poor sentence structure.  I say no way!  I'm not for abortions in the first place, and then to rub MY (the taxpayer's) nose in it, by saying I have to foot the bill for someone else's foolishness?? I don't think so.   This entire story was about the taxpayers.  You started with the comparison.
so what did Tuberville achieved in this PR stunt, other than showing GOP doesn't really care about US military???
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