Rules Committee Backs Move to End Tuberville Blockade

GOP senator has been blocking military promotions for months
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 14, 2023 4:19 PM CST
Senate Takes Step Toward Ending Tuberville Blockade
Sen. Mark Warner , chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, left, confers with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as the Senate Rules Committee holds a vote to circumvent the months-long blockade of military promotions by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Democrats pushed ahead Tuesday with a resolution that would allow for the quick confirmation of hundreds of military nominees, an attempt to maneuver around a blockade from Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville over a Pentagon abortion policy. The Senate Rules Committee voted 9-7 to approve a resolution that would allow the Senate to confirm groups of the military nominees at once for the remainder of the congressional term, the AP reports. The Senate has traditionally confirmed large batches of military officers together, but that process can be upended by just one senator who objects.

The resolution will now head to the Senate floor for a vote, where Democrats will need at least nine Republican votes for passage. While Republicans on the rules panel opposed the measure, arguing that the move could erode the powers of the minority in the Senate, some have signaled they might change their minds if Tuberville does not drop the holds before then. Senior military officials have warned repeatedly that Tuberville's blockade threatens readiness and national security. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who criticized Tuberville's holds before the committee vote, said he would oppose the Democratic resolution "at this particular moment."

Of Tuberville, McConnell said that "unfortunately, our colleague has chosen instead to exert his leverage on career military officers with no influence over this administration's policy priorities." Tuberville has said he is open to negotiating an end to his holds on almost 400 military nominees, which he first announced in February. But he has not yet signaled that he will drop them. Earlier this month, frustrated Senate Republicans challenged Tuberville to drop the holds and confronted him on the floor for more than four hours , calling up 61 of the military nominations only for Tuberville to stand up and object every time.

(More Tommy Tuberville stories.)

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