The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to approve 425 military promotions that Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville had been holding up for months for no good reason.
Tuberville claimed in remarks to the media after a meeting with GOP colleagues in which he’d obviously had his wings clipped that he’d merely been “doing the right thing for the unborn and our military,” using what is usually a procedural vote on military nominations to protest a Department of Defense policy that offers reimbursements to military servicemembers who have to travel out of state to be able to get abortions.
The DoD policy was put into place following the controversial Dodd decision reversed 50 years of precedent from Roe v. Wade, and a slew of Southern states quickly moved to put restrictions on abortion rights within their borders.
Tuberville had been using an arcane Senate rule that allows a single senator to force individual up-or-down votes on the so-called batch nominations since February.
Even fellow Republicans were among the critics of the strategy, which senators on both sides of the aisle had criticized as needlessly weakening the U.S. military, ultimately forcing Tuberville’s hand.
Incredulously, the failed college football coach told reporters, with a straight face, that “we didn’t get as much out of it as we wanted” out of his stunt.
“The only opportunity you got to get the people on the left up here to listen to you in the minority is to put a hold on something, and that’s what we did,” Tuberville said. “We didn’t get the win that we wanted. We’ve still got a bad policy.”
Technically, he’s not done with the nonsense. Tuberville is still exercising his right to continue holds on promotions for four-star level and above appointments.
There are 11 of those appointments that will be affected by Tuberville’s posturing.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in a statement on Tuesday, blistered Tuberville for what he’s done and what he’s continuing to do.
“The military promotions blockade hurt America,” Warner said. “Servicemembers and their families had their lives on hold for months. We looked weaker on the global stage. I’m glad Sen. Tuberville is dropping most of these ridiculous holds, but it’s time to finish the job and release them all.”
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., has been vocal on the Tuberville stunt for months.
“Tuberville just caved on most military nominees without accomplishing anything other than hurting our military officers and punishing their families,” Kaine said on Tuesday. “He’s holding out on a few and we should confirm them all before the holidays.”