Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama said that he made Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer “blink” in a confrontation over a Pentagon policy on abortion.
Tuberville launched the hold on most senior military promotions in March to protest the Pentagon’s policy of paying for female servicemembers to travel for out-of-state abortions after a number of states placed restrictions on the procedure. Schumer filed cloture petitions to force votes on 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 Wednesday. (RELATED: ‘My Hold Is Still In Place’: Tuberville Takes Victory Lap As Schumer Folds On Military Appointments)
“We called his bluff, Larry,” Tuberville told Fox Business host Larry Kudlow. “We signed a petition, the minority can do one thing to get a vote on floor, and that’s to get 16 signatures from your fellow senators. We got that, we took it to Schumer, he said I’m not going to let you do that, I’m going to do that myself. I don’t want to look bad. So, we made him blink, he brought three to the floor, we got them confirmed.”
Biden administration officials, including Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, criticized Tuberville over the blanket holds, which left a number of senior billets unfilled for weeks. Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas and Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley also called out Tuberville’s hold.
“This was a legislative win for all of Congress, because basically, we’re telling Joe Biden and the secretary of Defense, you can’t make policy, you can’t play a communist, you cannot be a dictator, send it to Congress and let us pass it the way you’re supposed to do it, the way they did it in 1984 when Joe Biden was in Senate and pass this same policy,” Tuberville said.
The Senate confirmed Smith and George to their positions Thursday. The Senate is required to confirm three-star and four-star flag and general officers when they receive new assignments, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.
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