Senate Republicans are nearly unanimously hyperventilating about a new relaxed dress code for their institution. The “sanctity” of the Senate is at stake, 46 of them wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “Allowing casual clothing on the Senate floor disrespects the institution we serve and the American families we represent.”
They even pulled the war card. The Senate floor, they wrote, “is where we must make the gravest decision imaginable – whether to send our fellow Americans into battle to defend the freedoms we all hold dear.”
Meanwhile, every one of the senators who signed that letter is standing by while Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville symbolically spits on our armed forces with his monthslong hold on military promotions and confirmations.
More than 300 officers have been caught in Tuberville’s temper tantrum, launched in an effort to force the Pentagon to reverse its policy of allowing service members leave and reimbursement to travel out of state for abortions or other reproductive care. The hold is endangering national security, top brass claim, and embarrassing the military on the world stage.
Tuberville ramped up his attack on both the military and the Senate by trying to force a vote to get around the blockade he created. He threatened to use a rare process-busting Senate rule to force a procedural vote—called a cloture petition—on the Marine Corps commandant nominee Gen. Eric Smith. The move is a breach of Senate protocol that even Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has rejected.
Note that Tuberville isn’t lifting his hold even for this nominee: He’s still blocking it and trying to force a vote against his own blockade.
Democrats had held firm against Republican calls to try to push each individual promotion and nomination, in part because of the floor time it would eat up and in part because it would incentivize Republicans to keep using the tactic. On Wednesday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer partially relented, filing for cloture for General C.Q. Brown to be the next chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the nominations of Gen. Randy George to be Army chief of staff and Gen. Eric Smith to be the commandant of the Marine Corps.
"Due to the extraordinary circumstances of Senator Tuberville's reckless decisions, Democrats will take action,” Schumer explained.
How reckless is what Tuberville threatened? When McConnell, the king of obstruction and Senate rule manipulation, thinks a move like this would set a dangerous precedent for the institution, you know it’s bad. McConnell is the man who has taken an obstructionist wrecking ball to the place since he got a leadership position. He refused to hold a vote on a qualified Supreme Court nominee. He has made the filibuster, a relic of Jim Crow policies, an everyday occurrence in the Senate, and he’s used it to turn the Senate into a “legislative graveyard” and bragged about it, declaring himself the “Grim Reaper” of Democratic policies.
Tuberville’s dangerous blockade is the logical outgrowth of McConnell’s scorched-earth approach to Senate rules and procedures. It’s happening on McConnell’s watch. Yet McConnell, the person who engineered the debasement of every norm and tradition of the place, signed the letter saying that letting senators wear casual clothing “disrespects the institution.”
Senate Republicans offended by gym shorts, less so by public groping
Tuberville antics wearing thin with Republicans
Military leaders speak out to push Tuberville on nominations
McConnell's white supremacist roots are showing in his filibuster fight
What do you do if you're associated with one of the biggest election fraud scandals in recent memory? If you're Republican Mark Harris, you try running for office again! On this week's episode of "The Downballot," we revisit the absolutely wild story of Harris' 2018 campaign for Congress, when one of his consultants orchestrated a conspiracy to illegally collect blank absentee ballots from voters and then had his team fill them out before "casting" them. Officials wound up tossing the results of this almost-stolen election, but now Harris is back with a new bid for the House—and he won't shut up about his last race, even blaming Democrats for the debacle.