Tuberville lifts blockade on some military promotions

Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville announced Tuesday that he would
partially walk back a monthslong protest against a Defense Department
abortion policy, paving the way for the Senate to approve scores of
delayed military appointments.

The Republican senator, elected in
2020, has drawn ire from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for his
efforts to block the promotions of hundreds of Pentagon officials — a
move that critics say hobble military readiness.

Tuberville has
long couched his obstruction in opposition to a Defense Department
policy which compensates service members who must travel to receive
abortion care. The lawmaker has said that he would lift his blockade
only if the Pentagon rescinds its program.

Despite that, it
appeared Tuesday as though the Alabama Republican had reached an
impasse, as he told reporters on Capitol Hill that he would no longer
fight promotions for military officials below the rank of four star

Tuberville made his announcement immediately following a
midday luncheon with GOP colleagues. The lawmaker all but admitted
defeat on his blockade, telling reporters that he “didn’t get the win
that we wanted” and that the Pentagon’s abortion policy would remain in

Either way, Tuberville’s move will open up promotions for
more than 400 military officials currently stuck in a holding pattern on
the Senate floor.

Some Senate Democrats, who have for months
criticized their colleague for holding up promotions, celebrated the end
of the Tuberville blockade Tuesday, but stopped short of giving him
credit for finally backing down.

“Let’s be clear,” wrote
Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth in a post on X, formerly Twitter,
“lifting this hold on many military promotions should never have taken
this long — and cannot erase the nine months of damage done to our
national security, readiness and military families.”
Washington Senator Patty Murray called
Tuberville’s hold “reckless” and said that the lawmaker “deserves no
credit for today’s announcement and should be condemned for using our
military as a political pawn.”