Republicans Turn on Tuberville Over Risky Blockade

It's a 'national security suicide mission,' says Sen. Dan Sullivan of delayed vote on military nominees
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2023 10:40 AM CDT
Republicans Turn on Tuberville Over Risky Blockade
This image shows Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday.   (Senate Television via AP)

Numerous members of his own party confronted Sen. Tommy Tuberville on Wednesday, demanding the Alabama Republican lift his legislative blockade used to delay votes on 375 military nominees since February, which is increasingly seen as a national security issue. "Months of simmering Republican frustration" burst into the open during "a remarkable scene" on the Senate floor Wednesday evening after the overworked Marine Corps leader suffered a medical emergency, per the Washington Post. The outlet reports Republican Sens. Dan Sullivan, Joni Ernst, Todd Young, and Lindsey Graham accosted Tuberville, urging him to lift his monthslong blockade, which Sullivan said was at risk of becoming a "national security suicide mission," per the AP.

The Republican senators proposed votes on some of the officers whose promotions have been held up, but Tuberville blocked each nominee "as his colleagues' frustration continued to rise," the Post notes. He objected 61 times in total. The Alabama senator, who launched the blockade of military nominees in February in response to a Defense Department policy related to out-of-state abortions, had previously said he wouldn't prevent voting on individual nominees, only those grouped together. Ernst, a retired Army officer, and Sullivan, a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, highlighted Tuberville's failure to follow through on his words. "Xi Jinping is loving this. So is Putin," Sullivan said, referring to the leaders of US rivals China and Russia.

"This is doing great damage to our military," added Graham. Some Republicans suggested Tuberville could continue to block votes on officials who would have a role in policy, but allow votes on nonpartisan military officers. "Why are we putting holds on war heroes?" Sullivan asked. Tuberville held strong. "We're not going to start backing up now just because people are starting to start to get cold feet … on my side," he told the Post. Democrats would need at least nine Republicans to support a plan to temporarily alter Senate processes to negate the blockade and allow a vote on all nominees at once, per NBC News. A vote is expected within weeks. (More Tommy Tuberville stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.