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Tommy Tuberville Says He Will End Blockade of 400 Military Promotions

Senator Tommy Tuberville said on Tuesday he was ending his blockade of hundreds of military promotions, clearing the way for numerous generals and admirals to take new roles after a nearly 10-month protest over the military’s abortion policy.

The Alabama Republican said he was “not going to hold the promotions of these people any longer”.

More than 400 military nominations have been in limbo due to Tuberville’s blanket hold on confirmations and promotions for senior military officers. It is a stance that has left key national security positions unfilled and military families with an uncertain path forward.

He finally relented after heavy pressure from fellow Republican senators who had grown increasingly alarmed about the damage his holds were having on US military readiness. More than half of the US military’s 850 senior general and admiral roles had been affected by Tuberville’s holds, and that number was expected to grow to three-quarters of all senior military officials by the end of the year.

Tuberville, a former college football coach and neophyte lawmaker, was blocking the nominations in opposition to new Pentagon rules that allow reimbursement for travel when a service member has to go out of state to get an abortion or other reproductive care.

Joe Biden’s administration instituted the new rules after the supreme court overturned the nationwide right to an abortion, and some states have limited or banned the procedure.

Critics said that Tuberville’s ire was misplaced and that he was blocking the promotions of people who had nothing to do with the policy he opposed.

“Why are we punishing American heroes who have nothing to do with the dispute?” said his fellow Republican senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska. “Remember we are against the Biden abortion travel policy, but why are we punishing people who have nothing to do with the dispute and if they get confirmed can’t fix it? No one has had an answer for that question because there is no answer.”

Tuberville had little choice but to back down. Senate Democrats had introduced a proposal that would let the Senate make a one-time exception to its rules to confirm the military appointees, and it had garnered enough Republican support that it was going to pass if Tuberville did not shift his position.

He will now allow the Senate to vote to confirm almost all of the top-ranked military positions, but will keep his hold on four-star generals, blocking 10 or so of the most senior military promotions.

Source: The Guardian