4-Star Military Nominees Approved After Tuberville Drops Blockade

Aldgra Fredly
By Aldgra Fredly
December 20, 2023Congress
4-Star Military Nominees Approved After Tuberville Drops Blockade
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) speaks to reporters in the Senate Subway of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on July 19, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed the remaining 11 four-star military nominees whose promotions had been delayed for months owing to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) legislative blockade.

The confirmations came after Mr. Tuberville dropped his hold on military promotions, which he had imposed in protest of Pentagon policy that reimburses service members who have to travel to get an abortion.

The blockade lasted for over 10 months before Mr. Tuberville finally announced a withdrawal on Dec. 5. More than 400 military promotions were approved by the Senate shortly after his announcement.

The 11 four-star generals and admirals approved by a voice vote on Dec. 19 were the final nominees impacted by Mr. Tuberville’s legislative blockade, according to  multiple reports.

“These 11 flag officers have now been approved, joining the rest of their colleagues who we approved a few weeks ago,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters after the vote.

“That’s good news,” the Democrat added. Mr. Schumer has previously pledged to end the Alabama Republican’s “illogical, hurtful, and dangerous” hold on military promotions.

Several Democrat senators have commended the decision. In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) praised the Senate for bringing Mr. Tuberville’s “outrageous blockade” to an end.

“For ten months, Senator Tuberville held our military hostage and played political games with our national security,” Mr. Bennet stated.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) expressed hope that the latest confirmations signify “the days of playing politics” with service members are over.

“For months I have been fighting to end Tuberville’s reckless blockade on military promotions—now we’ve finally done it. I hope this means the days of playing politics with our service members are behind us,” Mr. Kaine stated on X.

Mr. Tuberville exercised the privilege of all 100 senators to put a legislative hold on nominations submitted for Senate approval by the president in February.

The senator and other conservatives argue that the new policy violates a federal law that bars the use of federal tax dollars to pay for abortions, though the Department of Health and Human Services does so indirectly with substantial indirect funding of the procedure to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

President Joe Biden has claimed that Mr. Tuberville’s hold on military nominations was “politically motivated.”

“These confirmations are long overdue, and should never have been held up in the first place. Our service members are the backbone of our country and deserve to receive the pay and promotions they have earned,” President Biden said on Dec. 5.

NTD Photo
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks at a news conference in Washington on Jan. 4, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Senate Approves Back Pay, Defense Policy Bill

The Senate passed a bill on Dec. 14 that would grant back pay to military officers affected by Mr. Tuberville’s unprecedented blockade. It also approved a defense policy bill authorizing $886.3 billion in annual defense spending and a 5.2 percent pay raise for service members.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes funding for the multiyear procurement of 10 Virginia class submarines and the development of nuclear-armed cruise missile.

It also includes a trilateral nuclear-powered submarine pact with Britain and Australia (AUKUS), initiatives to counter Russia in Europe, foil China in the Pacific, aid Israel in the Middle East, and investments in Space Force and technologies including artificial intelligence and hypersonics.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said the NDAA will strengthen the U.S. military posture in the Indo-Pacific and secure the nation’s interests “against China’s expanding ambitions.”

“The bill will reinvigorate our industrial base and provide our military services with the cutting-edge platforms and technologies they need to keep Americans safe,” Mr. Reed said in a statement.

Mark Tapscott and Samantha Flom contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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