Schumer Moves To Confirm Top Military Nominees After Tuberville Calls Audible
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) talks to reporters following the weekly Senate Democratic policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) set up votes on a trio of key military nominations after Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) threatened to force action that would begin to crack the months-long standoff over a Pentagon abortion policy.

In a post to X that followed an announcement on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Schumer claimed “Democrats are taking action” with his move to advance the nominations for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Army chief of staff.

“We cannot allow Senator Tuberville to decide which of our brave service members get promoted and which languish,” Schumer added.

Schumer chose to file cloture on three of President Joe Biden’s military nominees after Tuberville made headlines on Tuesday for reportedly gathering enough support from GOP colleagues to force a procedural vote on Gen. Eric Smith’s nomination to become commandant of the Marine Corps, which has lacked a confirmed leader since July.

Tuberville, a former college football coach, took a victory lap after Schumer announced the votes on Wednesday.

“One of us was bluffing. It wasn’t me,” Tuberville said on his personal account. “Democrats are taking the same action they could’ve taken months ago. As long as the Pentagon keeps the unlawful elective abortion policy in place, my holds will remain.”

The Senate began voting on the nominations later in the evening on Wednesday, confirming Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. of the Air Force as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and setting up confirmation votes for the other two nominees on Thursday.

Tuberville first placed a “hold” on general and flag officer nominations in February to protest a Pentagon policy allowing female service members expense-paid travel and up to three weeks’ leave for an elective abortion that he claims is illegal. The Department of Defense has referred to a Department of Justice opinion to justify the policy.

In upholding his stance, Tuberville has objected to allowing the Democrat-controlled Senate from quickly approving the nominations in batches through a “unanimous consent” agreement.

Despite pushback from the Biden administration and other lawmakers, Tuberville denied that his endeavor was hurting military readiness and he insisted that the Senate could still hold votes through regular order to approve individual nominations if necessary.

Hundreds of military confirmations have been held up so far, according to the Department of Defense. A recent Congressional Research Service report estimated it would take more than 700 hours of work to get through 273 confirmations on an individual basis.

“Senator Schumer just proved he could have moved these military promotions months ago,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said in a post to X on Wednesday. “He held our servicemembers hostage for purely political reasons.”

Tuberville delivered remarks in which he said the Senate is dealing with a “lack of leadership,” arguing that the upper chamber could have been confirming one or two nominees each week over the last 200 days. He also said his “hold” remains in place until the Pentagon lifts its abortion policy.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Schumer Moves To Confirm Top Military Nominees After Tuberville Calls Audible