Senate Republicans are starting to turn on Tommy Tuberville over his blockade of military promotions.
The Senate brought 61 individual nominees to the floor for a vote Wednesday night. Tuberville objected to all of them, tanking each officer’s promotion. He has repeatedly insisted that his blockade, a protest of the Department of Defense’s abortion policy, does not harm military readiness.
But his Republican colleagues were finally sick of hearing it. “No offense, but that’s just ridiculous,” Senator Dan Sullivan said. “He knows it. We all know it.”
Joni Ernst slammed Tuberville for previously implying he would consider voting on individual nominees and then blocking them anyway. “I do not respect men who do not honor their word,” she said.
Lindsey Graham called Tuberville out for taking his frustrations out on service members who were not involved in creating the Pentagon’s abortion policy. “Everybody in this body could find an issue with any administration they don’t agree with,” he said.
“There’s a reason this has not been done this way for a couple hundred years,” Graham continued. “No matter whether you believe it or not, Senator Tuberville, this is doing great damage to our military. I don’t say that lightly. I’ve been trying to work with you for nine months.”
Typically, the Senate majority leader brings a list of proposed military promotions to the floor. The chamber votes on all the candidates at once, and unanimous consent is needed to approve the promotions.
Tuberville has blocked almost 400 military promotions since March in protest over the Defense Department’s policy of reimbursing travel costs for service members who have to go out of state for an abortion. Democrats have tried to bring individual candidates to the floor for a vote, but there are too many stalled promotions for this to be efficient.
The Pentagon has warned repeatedly that Tuberville’s blockade harms military readiness, with the secretary of the Navy even accusing Tuberville of “aiding and abetting” Communist regimes by holding up promotions.
Tuberville is holding firm, though. He said he won’t let up, even after the Marine Corps commandant was hospitalized over the weekend due to a heart attack, leaving the military branch scrambling to fill the gaps in leadership caused by Tuberville’s blockade.