In a bold stand against a controversial Pentagon abortion policy, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) remains unwavering in his hold, even as the U.S. Marines find themselves without a confirmed leader for the first time in over 160 years.
Marine Corps is without confirmed leader for first time in 164 years https://t.co/qZBHQVAbYx
— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 10, 2023
Tuberville put an indefinite hold on all DOD nominations in protest of the Department of Defense policy that gives female military personnel and their dependents the provision of expense-paid travel and up to three weeks leave for elective abortions. The policy, which was set up in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, allows service members who want abortions to get one on defense funds even when they are stationed in states where abortions are restricted.
Despite the imminent departure of Gen. David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, at the end of his four-year term, Tuberville is showing no signs of backing down.
In an interview with CNN, Tuberville made it clear that he is resolute in his approach. “I’m not going to change my approach,” he declared.
He pointed out that the branch’s No. 2 official and President Joe Biden’s nominee to take over command, Gen. Eric Smith, has already assumed the duties in an acting capacity. According to Tuberville, the position is not actually vacant and is merely lacking a name.
“He’s assumed the duties already. It’s not like it’s void of a position, it’s just the name,” the senator stated.
Tuberville’s hold impedes the Democrat-controlled Senate from swiftly approving nominations through a “unanimous consent” agreement. The hold has resulted in over 250 nominations being stalled, prompting the Pentagon to urge the senator to lift his hold due to concerns about military readiness.
In response to the concerns, Tuberville emphasized that the Senate could still hold individual nomination votes, a process that he believes would be “very easy.”
A Senate aide for the Democrats, however, disputed Tuberville’s claims, stating that it would take months to go through each nomination individually.
Berger in an interview with CNN, also said that the hold has consequences for Smith even as he serves in the acting capacity as the commandant as he would reportedly be deprived of a second-in-command.
“He can’t do both jobs at the same time, nor can anyone else because they don’t have the authorities because all the promotions are held up. So he’s going to have to do his job in a very different way than I was able to because I could travel, he was here, he could travel, I was here. Now only one of him, so it affects the way he does his job,” he explained.
Despite the implications of the hold, Tuberville has stated that he will not change his decision until Defense Secretary Loyd Austin suspends the policy which he deems “illegal” or until a change in the law occurs.