Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s blockade on military promotions has continued as one current or former defense official or commanding officer after another has said that it’s damaging military readiness. Tuberville hasn’t budged. The Hamas attack on Israel and Israel’s “complete siege” of Gaza in response isn’t changing that.
Tuberville is blocking unanimous consent on all military promotions in a bitter protest against the Pentagon policy paying for service members and their families to travel for abortion care if they’re stationed in states with abortion bans. Currently, the promotions he’s blocking include nominees for the top officers of the Navy and Air Force, leaving the nominees doing the top jobs on an acting basis while still being responsible for the jobs they’re supposed to have been promoted out of. Additionally, Tuberville is preventing the current commander of the 5th Fleet, which includes naval forces in the Middle East, from being promoted to be deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, and a new commander from being put in at the 5th Fleet.
“The severity of the crisis in Israel underscores the foolishness of Senator Tuberville’s blockade,” Sen. Jack Reed, the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Sunday. “The United States needs seamless military leadership in place to handle dangerous situations like this and Senator Tuberville is denying it. This is no time for petty political theater, and I again urge Republican colleagues to help actively end Senator Tuberville’s damaging blockade,” Reed added. “The time for talking is over.”
Sen. Brian Schatz said Saturday that in addition to the Senate needing to move swiftly to confirm a U.S. ambassador to Israel, “we also need to confirm a chief of Naval Operations.” A Tuberville spokesman responded, “Sen. Schatz should do what Coach did and file a cloture petition.”
In other words, Tuberville’s position is that Democrats should clog the Senate calendar with time-consuming votes on individual nominations. As Daily Kos’ Joan McCarter recently explained, “It could take the Senate weeks to work through each nomination, even if they were devoting all day, every day, to process them. That’s why the Senate normally takes up these routine promotions and nominations in blocs, with voice votes that are unanimously approved.” The Senate did take the time to individually confirm Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. as Joint Chiefs chairman last month, along with Gen. Randy A. George as chief of staff of the Army, and Gen. Eric Smith as commandant of the Marine Corps. But that cannot be the norm for confirmations when the Senate has other business to handle, and Tuberville’s temper tantrum over reproductive health care shouldn’t be rewarded in any case.
Tuberville’s blockade continues to be enabled by his fellow Republicans and by the Senate rules that allow a single senator to grind things to a halt.
Sign the petition: Tell Sen. Tommy Tuberville to stop endangering national security.