After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and abortions became less accessible for millions of Americans in several states, the Pentagon enacted new policies to allow troops to access reproductive health care—including covering travel expenses for servicemembers who have to go out of state to obtain an abortion.
In response, Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville has stalled all high-level military promotions for months, promising to continue his tantrum unless the policies are reversed. Now, as the U.S. supplies cluster bombs to Ukraine, the Marine Corps is without a Senate-confirmed leader for the first time since 1859. If Tuberville doesn't knock it off soon, the Army, Navy, and Joint Chiefs will also be without confirmed leadership.
Sign if you're outraged: Tommy, stop trying to enforce your MAGA culture war on U.S. troops.
So far, Tuberville's tantrum over the Defense Department's policy has blocked hundreds of military promotions. Five members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including the chairman, are required by law to leave their posts over the next three months.
The military, of course, continues to operate. But this tantrum costs servicemembers and their families. People are taking on work they are not being compensated for, it could impact their retirement benefits, and it has created financial and logistical burdens for troops’ families. The school year begins in less than a month, and parents are unable to make decisions about housing. It's truly ridiculous.
"[While] Tuberville’s actions aren’t affecting the pay of President Joe Biden or Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, he is directly stealing from the pockets of the officers whose promotion he is blocking," writes Mark Sumner. "In the civilian sector, it’s likely that Tuberville has already cost the department valuable employees who see little reason to remain in an organization where a single senator can arbitrarily put a cap on their opportunities."
In the past, noncontroversial military nominees, including the Joint Chiefs, have been confirmed via unanimous consent. To get around Tuberville's hold, the Senate would have to eat up valuable floor time with a series of hearings and procedural votes. Every second spent on this nonsense is time the Senate isn't doing real work, like passing a budget, protecting our elections, or supporting American families.
A new ad from veterans advocacy VoteVets destroys the senator for holding military assignments “hostage” in pursuit of his “MAGA social agenda.”
Not for nothing, the Pentagon has real issues that are going unaddressed while Tuberville peacocks. The Department of Defense has failed to pass an audit for years; it cannot account for 61% of its $3.5 trillion in assets, and the F-35 program is $165 billion over budget and ten years behind schedule. But no. Tuberville chooses to hold the military hostage over abortion rights. In a world where he can be anything, he should try to be f*cking for real.
Our troops and their families don't deserve this disrespect. Our country cannot afford it. We don't have time for Tuberville’s selfish and irresponsible antics. It's well past time Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party tell Tommy to knock it off.
Sign the petition: Tuberville's political posturing endangers military readiness and risks U.S. national security.