Three senior Pentagon officials have called on Sen. Tommy Tuberville to stop blocking military promotions because of his opposition to the Pentagon’s abortion policy.
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth and Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece that the “broad and unprecedented” suspension Mr. Tuberville’s six-month review of military candidates seeks an abortion policy that is “critical and necessary to fulfill our obligations to the force.”
The policy reimburses service members and their families for travel necessary to obtain an abortion.
“Imposing a full suspension on all general candidates and general officers, who as nonpolitical officials have traditionally been exempt from the suspension process, is unfair to these military leaders and their families,” they wrote. “And that puts our national security at risk. »
The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps currently have no Senate-confirmed service chiefs.
Mr. Tuberville, Republican of Alabama, is delaying the confirmation of nearly 300 military candidates.
“Across armies, many generals and admirals are forced to perform two roles simultaneously,” the leaders wrote. “The strain of this dual duty imposes a real and unfair burden on these officers, the organizations they lead and their families. »
Mr Tuberville began blocking applications in March, when he objected to the confirmation of a group of Defense Ministry candidates by unanimous consent.
In their letter, the leaders wrote that this suspension has caused mental and financial stress for those in leadership positions.
“These military leaders are forced to endure costly separations from their families – a painful experience they have had in nearly 20 years of deployment to places like Iraq and Afghanistan,” the statement said. letter. “All because of the actions of a single senator.”
In the Senate, a senator is able to block legislation and lawmakers seek to approve nominations by voice vote. The Senate can approve the nominations one by one, but he feels that would take too long.
On Saturday, Mr. Tuberville posted on X, formerly Twitter, blaming the heist on the Biden administration, which he said “injected politics into the military and imposed an illegal abortion policy on American taxpayers. . I’m trying to take politics out of the military.
“It’s nothing new that the civilian appointees of Joe Biden are all toeing the party line,” Steven Stafford, Mr. Tuberville’s communications director, said in a response to The Washington Times. “If Democrats were truly concerned about readiness, then Chuck Schumer would be planning votes on military nominations right now.”
“[Mr. Tuberville] does not block votes; he forces them. Chuck Schumer could confirm all the department heads in one day, but he refuses. Instead, he simply took five weeks off. It’s clear he’s not worried about it affecting readiness,” he said.
In July, hundreds of military family members signed a petition calling on Mr. Tuberville to end his military appointments. The petition was delivered to the offices of Senate Leaders Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, as well as Mr. Tuberville.
“We believe that the vast majority of senators and Americans of all political persuasions recognize the stakes of this moment and the dangers of politicizing our military leaders,” the letter concludes. “It is time to lift this dangerous grip and confirm our senior military leaders. »