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Tuberville takes victory lap after Schumer holds votes on military nominations

"The hold will remain in place as long as the Pentagon’s illegal abortion policy remains in place," he concluded.

Published: September 21, 2023 4:12pm

Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy "Coach" Tuberville is celebrating a win after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday brought three military nominations up for floor votes.

"I forced his hand," he said Wednesday evening on Fox News, asserting that he had brought his own plan to hold a vote in a bid to pressure Schumer. "...I took it to the floor and said I'm going to do my own cloture vote. I'm going to bring my own vote up, and Schumer says, 'No, no, no. We can't let him do that. He'll grandstand on us. We'll do it.'"

The Senate ultimately confirmed Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown to serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wednesday evening. Prior to that final vote, the upper chamber held three procedural votes to advance Brown's nomination and those of Gen. Eric Smith and Gen. Randy George to serve as Marine Corps commandment and Army chief of staff, respectively.

"This is a win today for the legislative branch of government. Voting gives all Senators a voice for their constituents. The Constitution says the Senate is to 'advise and consent' to the President’s nominations," Tuberville said on the Senate floor ahead of the votes. 

Tuberville has maintained a blanket hold on military nominations in protest of the Pentagon's policy of provide paid leave for military servicemembers to obtain abortions. Strictly speaking, Tuberville cannot block nominations outright, merely force the Senate to hold time-consuming floor votes instead of confirming nominees in slates by unanimous consent, as is conventional.

The Alabama lawmaker has maintained the hold for months, despite intense media scrutiny and partisan outrage. He maintains, however, that Schumer's scheduling of floor votes constitutes a capitulation and that he will maintain his hold until the Pentagon chances policy.

Amid the hold, Democratic senators had largely condemned the Coach's actions as compromising military readiness, a claim Tuberville rejected. In his floor remarks he opined that the considerable nominee backlog was the product of Democratic inaction rather than his efforts.

"If Democrats want to complain then they should look in the mirror. I don’t control the Senate floor—the Democrats do. In a typical week, we work three days," he said. "Those aren’t the kind of hours people are working back in my home state of Alabama. This is one of the least productive Senates in our lifetimes. Democrats can’t have it both ways. Either they can confirm these nominees through regular order, or they can stop complaining about acting officials."

"Democrats say this is a large backlog of nominees. They say it would take a long time. Well, I agree. It’s been a big backlog," he conceded. "But again, Chuck Schumer allowing the backlog to build up over six months is his fault. We could have been confirming one or two a week for the last 200 days. It would have taken us just four hours of voting each week. But we didn’t do it."

"We don’t have a lack of leadership in our military—we have a lack of leadership right here in the United States Senate. Despite the lack of leadership, Senators are perfectly capable of voting. Voting is our job. That’s why we were sent here," he asserted.

Coach further insisted that he would maintain his hold, forcing Schumer to continue bringing nominees to the floor for consideration should he wish to clear the backlog.

"The hold will remain in place as long as the Pentagon’s illegal abortion policy remains in place," he concluded. "If the Pentagon lifts the policy, then I will lift my hold. It’s as easy as that. That’s been my position from the very beginning. I am not afraid to vote on these nominees or on ALL of these nominees. I came here to this chamber to vote."

Tuberville's efforts, despite intense negative press, remain popular among his constituency and Republicans at large. Former President Donald Trump on Thursday cheered the developments as "BIG WIN FOR TOMMY" and lauded the Alabama lawmaker for pushing through on the contentious issue.

"Unlike McConnell and his group of automatic Democrat YES VOTES, Tommy T is willing to take on the Radical Left Fascists & Thugs that are destroying our Country. What a difference!" he said.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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