Senator continues to block military confirmations despite Israeli crisis

Senator Tuberville believes the Pentagon’s abortion policy justifies his months-long blockage of the confirmation of military personnel.

Senator Tuberville has single-handedly delayed the confirmation of nearly every personnel nominated to move into the military that requires confirmation since February of this year.

Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown, who has been a combat pilot and chief of the Air Force with a distinguished military career that spans over four decades, became one of the few military personnel as of September to be confirmed as chairman of the Joint Chiefs despite Tuberville’s best efforts. Following Brown’s confirmation, a few other top officers were also able to secure their positions: Gen. Randy George secured chief of staff of the Army by a vote of 96-1, and Gen. Eric Smith secured commandant of the Marine Corps by a vote of 96-0. Their confirmations are thanks to the Chamber’s majority leader, Chuck Schumer, who sidestepped Tuberville.

John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council, agreed that this was a positive step but not nearly enough. “It doesn’t fix the problem or provide a path forward for the 316 other general and flag officers that are held up by this ridiculous hold,” Kirby said.

Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville is attempting to block all military confirmations due to his objection to the current Pentagon abortion policy.

Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Pentagon will pay for service members to travel for abortion care. “The practical effect of the recent changes is that service members may be forced to travel greater distances, take more time off work and pay more out-of-pocket expenses to access reproductive health care, all of which have readiness, recruiting and retention implications for America’s armed forces,” said Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder concerning the justification for this policy.

When asked to defend his actions in response to the Pentagon’s abortion policy, Tuberville blamed Democrats for caring more about abortions than national security. He argued that if the Democrats, who control the Senate and White House, really believed national security was at stake they would simply reverse the Pentagon’s abortion policy. “They care more about abortion in this country, the Democrats do, than they do about national security,” Tuberville said. “They could just move this policy back, which would be very easy.”

Typically, confirming military nominees is a simple and fast process. The defense nominees who require Senate confirmation are usually unanimously approved in batches. The process is designed to avoid prolonging the time it takes for these nominees to be confirmed. Tuberville has not stopped the entire confirmation process but has forced the Senate to review the nominees one by one which is a major delay and far more labor-intensive.

This hold by Tuberville has become more concerning amid the Hamas-Israel conflict of late. Multiple military officials with posts in the Middle East are going head-to-head with Tuberville on the Senate floor. A spokesperson for Tuberville informed ABC News that the Senator still intends to maintain his blockage of these confirmations and that the crisis in Israel will not sway his position. “It’s no surprise Democrats want to change the subject. But it doesn’t change the fact that the hold is not affecting our readiness or the readiness of any other country,” the Tuberville spokesperson said.

Georgetown University public policy professor Don Moynihan’s writing about the impact of Tuberville’s blockage amidst the Israeli crisis that it is part of a larger problem in the Senate where conservative lawmakers point to Pentagon policy issues as a justification for preventing the entire military system from functioning, which includes preventing the confirmation of the next ambassador to Israel. “It would be hyperbole to suggest that these actions, by themselves, had anything to do with the attack, or that they had a dramatic effect on the outcome. But they do hamper the ability of the US government to respond at this time,” Moynihan wrote.

Now people are once again looking to Chuck Schumer to see if he will sidestep Tuberville and secure the confirmation of Middle East-associated nominees.

Post Author: Aurora Stewart