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Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville announced on Tuesday his decision to end a prolonged blockade on hundreds of military promotions.
Tuberville is adopting a proposal by Senators Dan Sullivan and Joni Ernst, releasing holds on military officers at the 3-star level and below, while maintaining holds on approximately ten 4-star general and officer nominations. “I am not going to hold the promotions of these people any longer. We just released them,” Tuberville told reporters, signaling a significant shift in his stance.
The blockade, lasting nearly ten months, was rooted in opposition to a Pentagon policy introduced last year, which reimbursed service members for travel expenses related to abortion care. This policy had become a contentious issue within the Senate GOP as members grappled with balancing military and pro-life considerations.
The pressure on Tuberville increased as Senate Democrats planned a vote to temporarily change Senate rules to advance over 400 nominees affected by the holds. Additionally, GOP Senators with military backgrounds, including Sullivan and Ernst, had taken the issue to the Senate floor, attempting to pass individual promotions and bringing the dispute to the public eye.
According to Tuberville and Sullivan, the remaining holds will apply to around 10 nominees set to become 4-star generals, with Tuberville citing the need for thorough vetting of these top officials. The protracted blockade prompted Senate leaders to individually address nominations for top military posts, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and chiefs of various military branches.
While many Republicans were displeased with Tuberville’s approach, they also expressed concerns about setting a precedent that could alter the Senate’s rules, and the power of individual senators to place holds on nominees. Tuberville, reflecting on his actions, acknowledged not achieving the desired outcome but maintained his stance against the Pentagon’s abortion policy.