Tuberville declares victory on military holds, vows he will not back down

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 12:19 PM CDT
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U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville on Wednesday declared victory in his fight over a Biden administration policy that pays expenses for women in the military to travel to states that allow abortions.

Tuberville (R-Ala.) has held up military promotions in protest of the policy, prompting Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to bring promotions to the floor one at a time to bypass the senator’s holds.

In a conference call with reporters, Tuberville took a victory lap, arguing that Schumer was not being truthful when he claimed the senator was preventing confirmation votes.

“Last week was a huge win for the legislative branch of government and the American voters,” he said. “Chuck Schumer finally brought three individual military nominations to the Senate floor for a vote. The American people saw first-hand what myself and other Republicans have been saying for six months.”

On the Senate floor last week, Schumer blasted Tuberville’s “brazen, reckless hold of hundreds of routine, non-political promotions of senior military officers.”

Schumer said Tuberville rejected his offer to hold a vote on the abortion policy as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. And he pointed to polls and statements by other congressional Republicans opposing Tuberville’s position.

“Simply put, besides the most extreme elements of the Republican Party, no one thinks this is a good idea,” he said.

But Tuberville said the Senate always was able to call votes on specific nominees. He said his actions merely prevented confirmation votes for large groups of nominees.

“Chuck Schumer controls the Senate floor,” he said. “He can continue to bring these nominees up one at a time for a vote if he chooses. But my position is not changing. I will keep my holds in place until the Pentagon reverses its illegal policy or passes a law through Congress.”

Tuberville said that for more than a year, he has sought information form the Defense Department about its “taxpayer-funded abortion policy.” But he said the Pentagon has refused to answer basic questions, such as how many people have participated in the program and how much it has cost.

“The American taxpayers deserve to know all the details surrounding this policy, including the total cost,” he said.