CV NEWS FEED // A breakaway group of Republican senators tried and failed to stop Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s, R-AL, months-long hold on military promotions in protest of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) pro-abortion policy.
In the past few days, a small and cohesive band of at least five Republican senators have expressed their opposition to Tuberville’s holds, which he began in February after the Pentagon announced it would use taxpayer dollars to accommodate abortions in the military.
The coalition of Republicans attacking Tuberville includes Sens. Dan Sullivan, R-AK, Joni Ernst, R-IA, Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Mitt Romney, R-UT, and Todd Young, R-IN. Most political observers consider these senators to be “moderates” on cultural issues.
Al Weaver of The Hill reported that the group of Republicans,
led by [Sullivan], pushed the intraparty disagreement over how to resolve Tuberville’s holds into the public sphere last week with a floor effort to move forward on 61 promotions. Tuberville blocked each one.
Liz Ruskin of Alaska Public Media described the legislative battle, which occurred last Wednesday night, in detail.
Tuberville sat in the back of the Senate chamber and listened to Sullivan describe officer after officer. Sullivan, and the other senators who joined him, would end each bio by asking that the Senate approve the promotion by unanimous consent. Sixty one times, Tuberville stood up and gave the same response: “I object.”
That’s all it takes to block a promotion from the usual Senate fast track.
According to Ruskin, Sullivan also claims to oppose the DoD’s policy. “Tuberville, he said, should put a hold on a civilian Pentagon nominee who has a say in it, not uniformed officers,” she wrote.
None of the other four senators reported to join Sullivan in opposing Tuberville’s protest is Catholic.
In an op-ed for World magazine, Heritage Foundation Vice President of Government Relations Eric Teetsel commented on an apparent discrepancy in priorities between the senators and their voters.
“Why would Senate Republicans fight against one of their own, especially on something as fundamental as the fight to defend the unborn?” he asked.
Despite their espoused principles and campaign promises, life is simply not the top priority of many elected Republicans—at least, not like it is for their voters.
For many years Republican politicians have promised voters they would cut federal funding from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, only to give in when Democrats draw the line.
In those cases, these Republicans explain their lackluster resolve by giving the excuse that they must fund the Department of Defense.
“Now these Senate Republicans are putting the military ahead of the unborn yet again,” Teetsel added.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, would seem to agree. “They ride on the coattails of the pro-life Republican brand—until it’s time to do something about it,” Lee wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter) in a post that did not explicitly mention the holds. “Then they want little to do with that brand, and even attack those who do.” Lee has publicly supported Tuberville’s holds.
CatholicVote reported Friday that
Tuberville’s “holds” only prevent the Senate from blanket mass-confirmations of military appointees. They do not prevent the Senate from holding votes on each nominee through regular order. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, has been reluctant to hold votes on the nominees, however, with rare exceptions.
In addition, Tuberville has pointed out that the “holds” do not affect military readiness, as all vacant posts are filled by officers serving in an “acting” capacity.
Tuberville has on multiple occasions stated that he will continue his holds until the Pentagon stops using taxpayer money to fund abortions for service members.
“I hate to have to do this, but [the Pentagon is] going to listen,” he said in July.
“I’m not going to change my mind,” he reiterated in September. “[The Pentagon has] not tried to meet me in the middle. They have not tried to compromise.