Cruz Says Tuberville Standoff Over Military Promotions and Abortions Will Be Resolved Soon

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
November 20, 2023Politics
Cruz Says Tuberville Standoff Over Military Promotions and Abortions Will Be Resolved Soon
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks on Title 42 immigration policy in Washington, on May 3, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he is optimistic that the Senate will soon be able to move on from the hold that Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) has maintained on confirmations of military promotions and nominations.

“I believe this issue will get resolved,” Mr. Cruz told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Nov. 20.

For months, Mr. Tuberville has blocked the Senate from using unanimous consent motions to rapidly confirm military promotions. Mr. Tuberville initiated this delaying tactic to protest a Department of Defense (DOD) policy to fund abortion-related travel and allocate leave time for service members.

Mr. Tuberville contends that DOD policy runs afoul of a federal law codified under the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from paying for abortions in most cases.

The Alabama Republican’s protest tactic does not prevent the Senate from confirming military promotions and nominations but does require the Senate to go through a slower process under cloture. This has led to a backlog of around 400 nominees.

Mr. Tuberville has repeatedly insisted that he will keep up the tactic until the DOD either retracts its policy or Congress changes federal law to expressly permit the type of policy the DOD has adopted.

Some Senate Republicans, however, have begun to raise concerns that Mr. Tuberville’s delaying tactic is harming U.S. military readiness and unfairly punishing the families of military officers who had no input on the DOD abortion travel policy.

Republican politicians and conservative commentators have affirmed their pro-life politics over the course of Mr. Tuberville’s protest but have said they must balance that issue with their desire to support the military.

‘Real and Negative Consequences’

Mr. Hewitt is among the growing list of political conservatives who have expressed frustration with Mr. Tuberville’s delaying tactic. On Nov. 20, he said the DOD abortion travel policy “quite obviously” goes against the law, but noted that the military nominees Mr. Tuberville has stalled had nothing to do with creating the DOD policy.

Mr. Cruz agreed that Mr. Tuberville’s hold on the military nominations is having “real and negative consequences” for the military officers involved, but said he believes the issue will soon come to a close.

“I’ve had multiple conversations with Tommy, and I believe in relatively short order this issue will get resolved, and we will find a course of action that allows the military promotions that need to happen to go forward, but that also allows Tommy to continue to fight and fight valiantly for the unborn,” Mr. Cruz said.

“I think you can do both, and I hope we do do both.”

Mr. Cruz’s comment about a potential resolution comes as Senate Democrats have advanced a standing order resolution that would modify Senate rules and allow the rest of the Senate to circumvent holds on most military nominees for the remainder of the current session of Congress.

With a 60-vote threshold, the resolution would require the support of all Democrats and independents in the Senate, along with nine Republican senators in order to pass.

The Texas Republican did not specify how he expects the current impasse to be resolved. He said he does not agree with the Democrats’ plan to modify Senate rules to bypass Mr. Tuberville’s holds.

So far, no Senate Republican has expressly offered to support the Democrat-led standing resolution to modify the Senate rules. Mr. Hewitt said he was encouraged by Mr. Cruz’s talk of a potential solution.

“I hope the standing resolution gets passed, and I hope the conference moves these career military people without any more additional rhetoric about their being desk jockeys, etc.” Mr. Hewitt said.

NTD News reached out to Mr. Tuberville’s office for comment but did not receive a response by the time this article was published.

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