Senators plan to block military promotions as Tuberville draws GOP Ire

Senate Democrats are trying a new strategy to overturn Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s veto of senior military promotions as pressure mounts among his fellow Republicans and Defense Department officials to oppose the Pentagon’s abortion access policies.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and Majority Leader, said Wednesday that he would seek to temporarily circumvent the chamber’s rules to allow nearly all military nominees to be confirmed as a bloc. A vote could be held next week.

It was in February that Alabama Republican Mr. Restoring the usual practice in the Senate before Tuberville, the Pentagon policy provided for officer promotions and vacation and travel reimbursement for service members seeking abortions or fertility care.

Mr. While it is not clear that Schumer will win support for his maneuver, even among Republicans, Mr. He announced the attempt amid growing frustration in the defense industry over the nine-month siege of Tuberville.

Newly confirmed Marine Corps Commandant General Eric M. Anger rose inside the Pentagon this week following Smith’s heart attack. Some lawmakers and military officials suggested that General Smith’s fall was due to his additional workload because Mr. Tuberville’s tactics prevented him from securing his deputy’s position.

“What happened to the Marine commandant showed a lot of people how dangerous what Tuberville was doing,” Mr. Schumer said.

Mr. said that there was no objection to General Smith’s illness. Following Tuberville’s remarks, Senate Lt. Gen. Christopher J. Mahoney was confirmed as the next assistant commandant of the Marine Corps.

In a clear sign that the pressure is mounting, Mr. A handful of Republicans took to the Senate floor Wednesday night to criticize Tuberville’s tactics. One by one they tried to call pending promotions to army officers, urging him to give up blocking them – which he repeatedly refused to do.

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“Believe it or not, Senator Tuberville, this is taking a toll on our military,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said Wednesday night. “If it is normal, God help the military, because each of us can find some reason to oppose the policy.”

Announced in February Mr. Tuberville’s targeted policy allows service members to take leave and reimburse travel expenses if they need to travel to obtain an abortion or certain fertility treatments. Last year’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade prompted many states to ban or severely restrict abortion. Some doctors and legal experts fear the ruling could eventually lead to new restrictions on artificial insemination.

The scene marked the breakdown of months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, with Republicans calling for Mr. While publicly supporting Tuberville’s actions, they privately appealed to the Alabama senator, accusing Democrats and the Pentagon of failing to accommodate him.

Mr. Tuberville’s refusal to do so could prompt some GOP senators to join Democrats in overturning his opposition.

“The dam is starting to break,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan, Republican of Alaska, who is Mr. He held fruitless behind-the-scenes talks with Tuberville and was a Marine Corps Reserve colonel. “Not all efforts at reconciliation are progressing, and preparedness issues are very real.”

No Republican has yet signed on to the maneuver, led by Senators Jack Reid, D-Rhode Island, and the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Kirsten Sinema, an Arizona independent. This would allow all candidates to become generals and admirals, except for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and combatant commanders, who must be confirmed together.

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Mr. Since Tuberville took office, the Senate has confirmed five senior officials to serve as co-chairs, Adm. Lisa Francesetti as the next Chief of Naval Operations and Gen. David W. Alvin is also the next Chief of Air Staff. , both won unanimous confirmation on Thursday.

But coming up with and passing each promotion individually would require spending a great deal of time on the Senate floor, gathering legislative business and confirmations for the rest of the federal government.

Tentatively bypassing Senate rules would require 60 votes, and many Republicans are staunchly opposed.

Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said: “I’m not for a rule change: “I think what we’re seeing here is that once you set a precedent with a rule change, it’s a slippery slope to other changes. I think that threatens the establishment.

Over the past decade, through partisan, tit-for-tat rule changes, the Senate eliminated rules requiring 60 votes to confirm executive and judicial branch nominees, who are now approved by a simple majority.

Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, noted that he was wary of breaking the rules, saying, “What goes around, you know. “The other side likes it when they do it, but they don’t like it when it’s done to them.”

But from their private conversations, some Democrats argue they can persuade Republicans to join them in the move. Nine GOP senators and Mr. Three independents are needed to support a practical final run around Tuberville.

On Wednesday night, Mr. Tuberville dismissed 61 separate requests to allow the nominees to be confirmed.

“I will hold my ground until the Pentagon follows through on the law or the Democrats change the law,” he declared.

Despite their obvious frustration, Mr. None of the five Republicans challenging Tuberville have pledged to sign on to the Democrats’ plan.

“I’m sure we can find an alternative, but something has to give,” Mr. Graham said.

However, Senator Todd Young, Republican of Indiana, said he had not ruled it out, and other Republicans refrained from doing so.

“I don’t like Mr. Tuberville’s technique of making his comment, and I think it’s getting to a breaking point, quite frankly,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia. So let’s see if there is a resolution.

Helen Cooper Contributed report.

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