Senate Approves Hundreds of Military Promotions After Tuberville Ends Confirmation Hold

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  • Senate Approves Hundreds of Military Promotions After Tuberville Ends Confirmation Hold

    Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) quickly reversed his stance on military confirmations, allowing almost 400 senior military officers to get their long-awaited promotions. Despite months of waiting and anguish, Tuberville was unable to accomplish his aim of changing the Pentagon's abortion policy with the relocation.

    Despite the nominations of four-star generals and admirals, Tuberville said on Tuesday afternoon that he was releasing his procedural grip on confirmations to military positions. The officers whose promotions had been rejected by Tuberville were promptly approved by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

    "I hope no one does this again," Schumer said while speaking on the Senate floor. "And I hope they learn the lesson Sen. Tuberville did, and that is: He held out for many, many months, hurt our national security, caused discombobulation to so many military families who have been so dedicated to our country, and didn't get anything that he wanted."

    At least twelve officers are still in the dark as a result of Tuberville's decision, but most of those whose promotions were held up by his hold may now proceed. Tuberville admitted defeat and said, "We've still got a bad policy. We tried to stand up for the taxpayers of this country."

    To put pressure on the Pentagon to change its policy of paying for military personnel’s travel and leave so they may have abortions, Tuberville put a stop to all nominations for general and flag officer positions at the end of February. Although the hold did not block confirmation by the Senate, it required separate roll-call votes for every candidate, which considerably slowed down the process of military promotions.

    Even though Democrats, Republicans, Pentagon officials, and military families all voiced their disapproval, Tuberville's grip continued for months, eventually expanding to include more than 450 officers. The change of heart occurred when it became clear that a sufficient number of Republican colleagues would back a Democratic initiative to sidestep Tuberville.

    The block on four-star nominations is still in place, but generals and admirals with one, two, or three stars may now be promoted under fast-track Senate processes, according to Tuberville. His reasoning for maintaining the four-star status quo was that they "need to be vetted just like everybody else."

    Although they were pleased with Tuberville's decision, the Pentagon persisted in requesting that he expedite the confirmation of candidates with four stars. There have been significant delays in the nominations of individuals to key positions within the military, including vice chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Space Force, as well as commanders of important commands such as Northern Command, Cyber Command, Space Command, Pacific Fleet, Pacific Air Forces, and Air Combat Command.

    Senior leaders with experience are crucial in these roles, according to Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder. The news came as a relief to military families who had been waiting anxiously for their husbands' promotions. In a statement, Secure Families Initiative executive director Sarah Streyder lauded the "everyday military family members who stood up and said, 'Enough!' when a single senator decided to bully our community."

    By temporarily altering Senate rules, Democrats intended to circumvent Tuberville's hold before the month ended. With this move, we hoped to approve most nominations with a simple majority vote, with the exception of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and combatant commanders. Given that candidates who are not confirmed by the end of the year will have to be renominated, the clock is ticking on the impasse.

    Republican Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan had already spoken with Tuberville over the holds, during which he highlighted the possible ramifications of postponed confirmations. Many distinguished military leaders could rethink their dedications, Sullivan warned, if the process were to begin again.

    To sum up, Sen. Tuberville's long-running impasse has now ended with the Senate's ratification of military promotions. Even if hundreds of officers may now advance in their careers, the continued holdup for a few important nominations highlights the difficulties military families encounter and the wider consequences for national security.

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