Home Tim Kaine on Tommy Tuberville’s military holds: ‘This is no time for political stunts’
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Tim Kaine on Tommy Tuberville’s military holds: ‘This is no time for political stunts’

Chris Graham
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Tommy Tuberville has been a threat to our national security with his one-man blockade of military nominations for months.

His fellow Republicans are just starting to acknowledge the obvious.

“No matter whether you believe it or not, Sen. Tuberville, this is doing great damage to our military,” South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a floor speech on Wednesday night. “If this gets to be normal, God help the military, because every one of us could find some reason to object to policy.”

“The readiness issues are very real,” Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, said on Wednesday.

Tuberville has played an arcane Senate rule that allows a single senator to object to nominations being batched together and voted on as a whole to make himself look tough on abortion.

The former college football coach began his dumb fight to get the Department of Defense to reverse a decades-old federal government policy to pay for travel-related expenses related to abortions in February, and in the process, he has held up nearly 400 military promotions from being voted on by the Senate.

It’s not just Tuberville, though. His Republican colleagues could have stepped in at any time in the past eight months to join Democrats who have been crying foul over the damage that Tuberville’s quixotic political fight has done to our military to come to a solution to break the logjam, but it’s literally only been in the past few days that GOP senators have finally decided that something needs to be done.

Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine, in a conference call with reporters on Thursday, noted that there is a bipartisan push for a rules change that would have to work its way through the Senate Rules Committee that would allow for nominations to be considered in batches without needing unanimous consent, which is the rule that Tuberville has been exploiting.

“Sen. Tuberville has been the first senator to decide, I’m going to object to taking them up as a batch on the floor and insist that they all have to be dealt with individually, and I will drag each individual one out as long as I can. That gets in the way of the business of the Senate,” Kaine said. “If you were to take up all of these nominations individually, that’s all you would do all year long. You would have no ability to do budget, you would have no ability to fill Supreme Court vacancies, Cabinet secretaries. And so that’s what he is doing, denying unanimous consent for batching the nominees on the floor and refusing to agree to shorten the time period of consideration of even a single nominee. He’s basically holding everyone hostage here and punishing these people for no reason.”

Kaine noted that things have gotten to a “crisis point,” with the recent headlines about the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Eric Smith, from an apparent heart attack, chief among them.

Among the scores of nominations that had been on hold was that of Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney to be the Marine Corps’ assistant commandant.

Maloney was nominated to serve in that position in July; Tuberville signaled earlier this week that he would reconsider his hold on Mahoney’s nomination, “just that one,” and the Senate quickly moved on Thursday to confirm Mahoney, who will now serve as the acting commandant with Smith still in the hospital.

“This is no time for political stunts,” Kaine said. “We’ve got to show American leadership. And we also need to not punish men and women who have voluntarily taken on the burden of defending our nation by wearing our nation’s uniform.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].