While the White House argues that Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s blockade of almost 400 military nominees is putting the country’s national security at risk, it is President Joe Biden who has the power to end the protest but is refusing to do so.
Tuberville’s hold, which began in March, is in protest of a Pentagon policy that grants female servicemembers reimbursement for travel out of state to get an abortion. The hold-up of military appointments over the policy is “causing damage to our military readiness,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Nov. 2.
But despite the White House’s objection to the holds, the president has not been open to negotiating the blockade with Tuberville’s office, the senator told Vince Coglianese, Daily Caller editorial director and WMALDC radio host, during a Wednesday interview.
— Coach Tommy Tuberville (@SenTuberville) November 2, 2023
“Nobody is really challenging the White House at all that they have put this illegal policy in place, they could have all of this taken care of in a moment couldn’t they?” Coglianese asked Tuberville.
“Exactly. It’s a two-way street,” the senator responded. “And I told them ‘listen, here’s what we do. You move the policy back and if you move the policy back, send [Congress] what you want us to vote on, and we’ll vote on it. And whichever way it goes, it’s fine. But I’d take the hold off no matter which way the vote goes.'”
“But they don’t want to do that. They want to, they want to dictate from the White House, this executive overreach that the American people don’t deserve,” Tuberville continued.
The White House has not reached out to Tuberville to discuss the holds and the senator has only discussed the block with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “a handful of times,” Hannah Eddins, Tuberville’s press secretary, told the Daily Caller.
The White House did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.
Even Senator Tuberville’s fellow Republican Senators are tired of him blocking military appointments.
Let them tell you in their own words.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 2, 2023
While the hold has been in place, Tuberville has recommended to some senators trying to get military nominations through that they invoke “regular order,” rather than trying to use unanimous consent to confirm appointments. (RELATED: ‘Urgency’: Tuberville Shows Openness To Options For Settlement Of Anti-Abortion Military Blockade)
Recently, a coalition of Senate Republicans turned on Tuberville after he rejected dozens of requests for votes on individual military officer appointments. Republican Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan was among the lawmakers who challenged Tuberville, saying that the Alabama senator’s hold is “a national security suicide mission.”
“It’s risky,” Jean-Pierre said Wednesday. “It’s a risk to our military readiness. It’s hurting our military families. And certainly we strongly disapprove of this and we have been very loud and very clear about our thoughts on what he is doing here. And so we are glad to see Senate Republicans speak up and also be vocal about this.”
The U.S. military should be focused on protecting American lives, not helping to facilitate their slaughter.@SenTuberville is taking a righteous stand and I’m proud to stand with him.
— Rep. Eli Crane (@RepEliCrane) November 2, 2023
While Tuberville has come under fire by the White House for his hold, other GOP senators have stood by Tuberville in support, including Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee. Lee. The hold can be put to an end if Biden orders Austin to rescind his memo which enacted the abortion policy, the Utah senator told the Daily Caller.
“President Biden could resume Pentagon promotions today if he simply instructed Secretary Austin to stop violating the clear purpose and intent of federal law by funding abortion travel,” Lee told the Daily Caller. “To my knowledge, the White House has made no attempt to work with Senator Tuberville or alter [Department of Defense] policies, because their top priority is forcing taxpayers to pay for abortion tourism instead of promoting officers. This is a dilemma of their own making.”