“As the leader of the Republican Conference, we count on you to hold your colleagues accountable when they recklessly cross boundaries and upend senatorial order,” the senators said in a letter, calling Tuberville’s stalemate “reckless” and “dangerous.”
Tuberville told CNA that if the holdup in promotions was having a negative effect on U.S. military capability, he would be taking a different approach. “If I thought this would affect readiness, I wouldn’t be doing this,” he said. “Readiness is not a problem.”
He cited as an example Gen. Eric Smith, who, though he hasn’t been officially promoted, is currently performing the duties of the Marine Corps commandant in an acting role.
All told, the protest has blocked what the Democratic senators in their letter said were “hundreds” of promotions.
The senator’s office pointed out that the holdup merely “forces the Senate to consider and vote on the nominations by regular order” instead of “approving them in batches by unanimous consent.” The nominations “can still be approved by the Senate,” but only if “the majority leader [makes] additional time for them to be considered on the floor.”
“I can’t stop them doing it one at a time,” Tuberville told CNA. “They can send them over and vote on them. They just can’t do it in a group.”
Tuberville’s office noted that senators — both Democrats and Republicans — have blocked military promotions many times over the last several decades in order to force certain policies or issues. In 1992, for example, thousands of promotions to the Navy were delayed pending an investigation into the infamous Tailhook scandal.
The 1980s-era Hyde Amendment has long forbidden the federal government from using taxpayer dollars to pay for most abortions. The Pentagon’s new policy thus exists in an uncertain gray area in which the government is paying for a service adjacent to abortion in order to facilitate abortion itself.
Tuberville said the U.S. is “not going to legislate from the Pentagon. And we’re not going to change the laws without a vote.”
“What they do now is they change the policy back and let’s vote on it,” he said. “They’re going to do it right. We’re going to go by the Constitution.”