- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to “score political points” on abortion amid an impasse over military nominations due to a hold by Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- Tuberville’s hold does not prevent nominees from being confirmed by “regular order,” through individual votes on the Senate floor, though Schumer has refused to schedule them.
- “I don’t think the Democrats are particularly concerned about the hold or its effect on military readiness (which is a bit of propaganda). If they were, they would work around or directly through the hold,” said Mike McKenna, a former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump for legislative affairs, to the DCNF,
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hasn’t attempted to override Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama’s protest hold on military promotions because he wants to “score political points,” legislative experts have told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Tuberville, who goes by the nickname “Coach” in the Senate, has imposed a hold on over 300 nominees to general and flag officer positions in the U.S. military in protest against a Biden administration policy of reimbursing servicemembers for travel to seek an abortion in states whose laws permit it. Even though Schumer could confirm the nominees by “regular order,” where each nominee is brought forward for an individual vote, he has not done so, leading legislative veterans to claim that Schumer has vested interests, legislative veterans told the DCNF. (RELATED: ‘Using Them As Fodder’: GOP Presidential Candidate Slams Tuberville’s Blockade Of Military Promotions)
“[Schumer] is using this as an opportunity to score cheap political points and further the Left’s pro-abortion extremism,” said Ryan Walker, the acting executive director of Heritage Action and a former top congressional aide, to the DCNF, adding that his “refusal to use regular order to confirm DoD nominees shows that he doesn’t believe his own criticisms of Senator Tuberville’s holds on military promotions.”
Just another example of woke propaganda. pic.twitter.com/ty5ug481iW
— Coach Tommy Tuberville (@SenTuberville) September 6, 2023
“I’ve never seen Chuck Schumer pass up an opportunity to pander to the radical left flank of his base. This move by the Leader is predictable,” wrote Republican Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas in an email to the DCNF.
Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022, Senate Democrats have sought to highlight abortion as a political issue, expecting voters to disagree with Republicans’ pro-life positions. “[I]t’s imperative that we make plain to the country just how extreme and dangerous Republicans’ anti-abortion agenda is,” said Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray, The New York Times reported.
“Senator Lee believes their unwillingness [to use regular order] is a cynical ploy to complain about problems of their own making,” wrote Billy Gribbin, communications director for Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.
“I don’t think the Democrats are particularly concerned about the hold or its effect on military readiness (which is a bit of propaganda). If they were, they would work around or directly through the hold,” said Mike McKenna, a former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump for legislative affairs, to the DCNF, regarding the nominations.
President Joe Biden and members of his administration, as well as Democratic members of Congress, have repeatedly claimed that Tuberville is harming U.S. military readiness following the retirement of several officers whose successors haven’t been confirmed. They have also declined to repeal the policy, suggesting that doing so would be “an ode to bigotry and ignorance.”
McKenna, however, suggested that Schumer may not want to undercut the importance of a hold. “Holds are important to the authority and power of senators, so other senators are hesitant to vitiate that power,” he said.
Under regular order, each nominee would be subject to a “cloture vote,” after which there would be no more than 18 hours of debate on their nomination before a final confirmation vote was taken. “Coach is not blocking anyone from being confirmed. Chuck Schumer could confirm any one of these at any time,” wrote Mallory Jaspers, a Tuberville aide, in an email to the DCNF.
Some claim that Schumer did not utilize Senate floor time earlier this year to confirm nominees using regular order and that the window to do so is closing amid a busy congressional calendar.
“I think he could have confirmed them by regular order if he had started earlier this year, but the appropriations negotiations are going to make that difficult,” said Cayden Connally, a former aide to Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, to the DCNF. “It takes a couple of days at least, per nominee, once you get them out of committee for a floor vote.”
Some GOP senators, however, think that Schumer is capable of confirming military nominees, but refuses to do so. “Schumer can take up each one of these on the Senate floor but he’s instead decided to take up very divisive left-leaning judges,” said Republican Sen. Eric Schmitt of Missouri, in comments to the DCNF.
When Schumer was asked about the prospect of regular order votes, he declined to comment, according to an encounter with reporters described by NBC News. “We’re not going to shift the burden to Democrats when this is a Republican-caused problem,” he said.
Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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