During a joint news conference with Finland’s president in Helsinki on Thursday, he called the Republican Party’s actions “absolutely irresponsible.”
Military promotions are usually approved by Congress, but Tuberville, of Alabama, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has blocked hundreds of appointments, citing his objection to a Pentagon policy that reimburses service members for pay and travel expenses. and those seeking abortion.
Biden, standing next to Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, said he would be willing to talk to Tuberville “if I think there is a possibility that he will change his ridiculous position. What he is doing is putting America’s security at risk.
“I expect the Republican Party to stand up — to stand up and do something about it,” Biden continued.
“The idea that we don’t have a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that all of these promotions are on hold right now, and we don’t know what’s going to happen, that we’re putting them in. It’s weird to have a domestic community debate on really social issues in basic foreign policy decisions,” Biden said. I don’t remember that happening. This is completely irresponsible in my view.
“I’m sure the mainstream Republican Party will no longer support what he’s doing, but they have to stand up and be counted,” Biden said. “That’s how it ends.”
Tuberville told NBC News that he would consider ending his hold if the Senate agreed to vote on whether to keep the current policy, and if the vote failed, the Pentagon and the White House promised to repeal it.
“If it fails, it should go back to the original,” Tuberville said of the administration’s policy. He had earlier said that he would resign only if the policy was repealed.
The senator said he was willing to meet with Biden to work toward a compromise, but expressed disappointment that Biden blasted him abroad.
“If I were president, I would have called myself a long time ago,” Tuberville said. “But you know, I understand that we’ve got a lot of problems in this country. We’ve got a lot of problems overseas, and he’s got — it’s a tough job. I can’t imagine doing that. So, he’s shot pretty, pretty good for me and on foreign soil. He didn’t do it. I wish there was,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Tuberville told NBC News that the senator spoke with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday. Tweet He characterizes their conversation as “pleasant and productive.”
A Pentagon spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Separately, Austin told CNN he would “continue to engage” with the Alabama Republican, though he said service members would still be reimbursed for abortion-related travel expenses.
“That’s our policy,” Austin said.
Biden’s comments come as criticism of the senator’s impeachment continues to mount.
Thursday, Austin said CNN Suspended appointments affect both national security and military readiness.
“This is a national security issue. It’s a preparedness issue. We shouldn’t kid ourselves, and I think any member of the Senate Armed Services Committee knows that,” Austin told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“We have a policy that allows our troops to have access to uncapped reproductive health care, and I think that’s an important policy,” Austin said.
“One fifth of my troops are women…
Some Republicans have also begun to criticize Tuberville’s tactics. Sen. from South Carolina. Lindsey Graham, a longtime conservation hawk, told NBC News that she also opposes the Pentagon’s abortion policy, but said the blockade must end.
“The thing about withholding promotions, we have to end that,” Graham said, adding that he “must vote to change the policy.”
As a result of Tuberville’s hold, the Marine Corps is without a confirmed chief for the first time in more than 150 years, a Pentagon spokesman said. 650 Military leadership The posts may become vacant by the end of the year if they continue.
Austin’s comments echoed those of Air Force Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown, Biden’s pick to serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who told the Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that less-experienced representatives could hurt reserve capabilities. It can discourage junior officers from staying in the military while temporarily taking leadership positions and creating financial and logistical burdens for troops’ families.
A spokeswoman for Tuberville told NBC News in May, when Brown’s appointment was announced, that the ban would apply to Brown as well. The current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, expires in October.