A Fox News reporter blamed Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville for “hurting [the] military” by placing holds on nominations.
Tuberville has continued to place a hold on the nominations of hundreds of U.S. military officers over the Department of Defense’s (DOD) policy to fund travel expenses for female personnel seeking an abortion. Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin said Tuberville’s hold is harming the military and led the Commandment of the Marine Corps., who was recently injured, to work two jobs as a result.
“Sen Tuberville still has hold on promotions. He says it’s not hurting [the] military. It is. No vice commandant confirmed so US Marines who are deploying to Mideast have 3 star acting Commandant. Wishing Gen Smith speedy recovery. He was working two jobs due to Tuberville[‘s] hold.”
Sen Tuberville still has hold on promotions. He says it’s not hurting military. It is. No vice commandant confirmed so US Marines who are deploying to Mideast have 3 star acting Commandant. Wishing Gen Smith speedy recovery. He was working two jobs due to Tuberville hold. https://t.co/1mAO0NHUMY
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) October 30, 2023
The agency established the rule in February, allowing female military members’ flights if they wish to obtain an abortion in “non-military facilities.” Austin has doubled down on the policy despite the overturn of the policy would lead Tuberville to lift his hold on the confirmations.
“[O]ne in five of our troops are women,” Austin told Tuberville. “And they don’t get a chance to choose where they’re stationed, so almost 80,000 of our women are stationed in places where they don’t have access to non-covered reproductive healthcare. And I heard from our troops, I heard from our senior leaders, I heard from our chiefs and also our secretaries and this policy is based on a strong legal ground.”
“I really implore you to reconsider and allow our nominations to move forward,” Austin continued. “It will make a significant difference for our force.”
Republicans have argued that the policy violates the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds going toward abortion services. Exceptions to the rule include a pregnancy caused by rape or incest and if the mother suffers from “a physical disorder, injury, or illness.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has the power to confirm military nominees through “regular order,” but experts believe he has not scheduled the votes to “score cheap political points” relating to abortion. President Joe Biden and the White House have accused Tuberville of harming national security and military readiness, however the president has yet to contact the senator single-handedly despite the administration labeling the blockade as a “threat to our national security.”
Tuberville previously said he regrets holding up the nominations, but indicated it’s worth it to try to stop taxpayer-funded abortions.
“I hate to have to do this. It’s unfortunate. But we make the laws over here. The DOD doesn’t. This is not about abortion. It’s about taxpayer-funded abortions,” Tuberville told Punchbowl News. “If this was about a list of personnel, people actually doing the fighting, this might be different … If this had to do with winning a war, obviously I wouldn’t be doing this.”
“I have never seen anything like this: Three top civilian military leaders setting an extremely bad example for subordinate troops, who are supposed to stay out of politics,” Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, told the DCNF.