GOP Senator Tommy Tuberville Won’t Back Down on Stalling Military Nominees

Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama says he is not changing his decision to stall Senate military confirmations despite a call from President Joe Biden to Senate GOP members to “stand up” to the senator. 

“Didn’t sound like anybody wants to sit down and visit and work a problem out,” said Tuberville during a CNN appearance on Thursday. 

“It sounds like somebody who wants to argue about it. I’m not in this to argue. You know, I’m just in this to try to be fair and do what’s right and go by the law and the Constitution. He can call me everything he wants. We need to get this worked out.”

When told by CNN host Manu Raju that fellow members of the GOP wanted Tuberville to relent, Tuberville responded, “That’s not going to happen.”

Sen. Tuberville has blocked hundreds of military promotions to protest new Pentagon policies on reproductive healthcare. The new guidelines include an allowance for service members traveling out of state to get an abortion. 

His actions have held up various high-profile roles, including commandant of the Marine Corps and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

On Thursday, Biden said Tuberville was being “irresponsible” and jeopardizing national security by blocking the confirmations. 

“I’d be willing to talk to him if I thought there was any possibility he would change his ridiculous position on this. He’s jeopardizing U.S. security with what he’s doing,” said Biden during a news conference in Helsinki, Finland.

Over 260 nominations are currently being stalled by Tuberville. 

GOP Senator John Thune says the hold-up is problematic

Earlier this week, Republican John Thune of South Dakota said the hold-up was problematic.

“I think that the longer this drags on, the more problematic it becomes for the military to function and operate in the way that I think the American people expect them to operate. So, I’m hoping something can be worked out here,” said Thune.

Thune, the number two Republican in the Senate, said he believes Tuberville is talking with Democrat Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, about a path forward. 

Roger Wicker, the top GOP Senator on the committee, said he would talk to Senate leaders and Tuberville to seek a resolution, adding, “I think the general officers should be confirmed.”

Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas and Wicker said they agree with the point Tuberville is trying to make. However, Cornyn said he wants to find a way “that would help him make his point without blocking many of these nominations, which has nothing to do with the controversy.” The senator also warned that Tuberville may set a precedent “that we’re not going to like the future.”