Senators question Tuberville’s drastic step to protest Pentagon abortion policy

Sen. Tommy Tuberville
FILE – Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., listens to question during a news conference March 30, 2022, in Washington. Tuberville told people at an election rally Saturday, Oct. 8, in Nevada that Democrats support reparations for the descendants of enslaved people because “they think the people that do the crime are owed that.” His remarks — seen by many as racist and stereotyping Black Americans as people committing crimes — cut deeply for some, especially in and around Africatown, a community in Mobile, Ala., that was founded by descendants of Africans who were illegally smuggled into the United States in 1860 aboard a schooner called the Clotilda. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File) Mariam Zuhaib/AP

Senators question Tuberville’s drastic step to protest Pentagon abortion policy

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Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) continues to block about 160 promotions of military commanders assigned to NATO, the Indo-Pacific, and the Middle East in protest of a Pentagon policy directive that gives service members more access to abortion.

“I hate to have to do this. It’s unfortunate. But we make the laws over here. The DoD doesn’t. This is not about abortion. It’s about taxpayer-funded abortions,” Tuberville told PunchBowl News. “If this was about a list of personnel, people actually doing the fighting, this might be different. … If this had to do with winning a war, obviously I wouldn’t be doing this.”


Last month, Tuberville began blocking all civilian, flag, and general officer nominations as well as high-level promotions within the Pentagon. So far, he has bottlenecked over 150 Pentagon nominations in his protest and has shown no signs of backing down. Military promotions typically move forward easily through the Senate Armed Services Committee. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed concerns that many of the military promotions are for key roles where there are active conflicts.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sounded off for the first time on Monday, accusing Tuberville of damaging national security.

“The senator from Alabama’s hold of hundreds of routine military promotions is reckless, it damages the readiness of our military, and puts American security in jeopardy,” Schumer said. “If every single one of us objected to the promotion of military personnel whenever we feel passionately or strongly about an issue, our military would simply grind to a halt.”


Many Republicans agree with Tuberville’s stance but don’t support the method in which he’s using military promotions as leverage.

“There are a lot of military positions that need to be filled,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We’re working with leadership and Sen. Tuberville to see what can be resolved.”

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