Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer filed cloture on the nominations of three top military officers on Wednesday in an attempt to get around Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s holds on such nominations over the Pentagon’s abortion policies.
Schumer’s filings pertained to the nominations of Air Force General Charles Q. Brown to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Eric M. Smith to be the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and Army General Randy George to be the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, according to the Senate Daily Press Gallery on Twitter, now known as X. The “cloture” motions would, if approved by at least 60 senators, limit debate on the nominations to 18 hours and lead to a final confirmation vote, in an attempt to get around the hold imposed by Tuberville on military nominations in opposition to the Department of Defense’s abortion policy. (RELATED: Here’s Why Experts Think Chuck Schumer Isn’t Overriding Tommy Tuberville’s Hold On Military Promotions)
The move represents a breakthrough for military nominees’ confirmations since Tuberville imposed his hold on Mar. 8, which has led to over 300 nominees to positions, at the rank of brigadier general or rear admiral and above, being stalled in the Senate. Tuberville had previously recommended that Schumer invoke cloture on all nominees, a process known as “regular order,” instead of seeking unanimous consent to bypass Senate rules for confirmation that he was withholding.
.@SenSchumer just FILED CLOTURE on the nomination of Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
— U.S. Senate Majority Floor Updates (@DSenFloor) September 20, 2023
Tuberville’s hold was prompted by the Biden administration’s policy of reimbursing servicemembers for travel to seek an abortion in states whose laws permit it if they are in states where the procedure has been restricted. He has demanded that the administration rescind the policy as a condition for him lifting his hold.
A member of Tuberville’s staff confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation that he supported invoking cloture on some nominations.
Democratic members of Congress, as well as President Joe Biden, have repeatedly claimed that Tuberville is harming readiness with his hold, following the retirement of several officers whose successors haven’t been confirmed. Democrats have strongly opposed repealing the policy, suggesting that doing so would be “an ode to bigotry and ignorance.”
Schumer had previously demurred when asked about invoking cloture on military nominees. “We’re not going to shift the burden to Democrats when this is a Republican-caused problem,” he said, according to NBC News. Senators and experts told the DCNF that Schumer’s move was likely motivated by a political effort to highlight Republicans’ anti-abortion political positions.
“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,” Republican Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas told the DCNF.
Some Republican presidential candidates, such as former Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, criticized Tuberville for his hold, while he has been supported by others such as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.
It is unclear whether Schumer will invoke cloture on other nominees. His office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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