Senate is set to confirm 3 military nominees but GOP senator still blocking hundreds of others

by Ryan Lee

The Senate is on the verge of confirming a new chairman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wednesday. This move comes as Democrats seek ways to navigate around the numerous holds placed on military nominations by Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville. Tuberville’s objections are rooted in the Pentagon’s abortion policy, and he has been preventing the Senate from approving these nominations en masse, much to the frustration of Democrats who preferred a more streamlined process.

However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, altered his strategy on Wednesday and decided to push for individual votes on three high-ranking nominees. These include Gen. CQ Brown, who is slated to succeed Gen. Mark Milley as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff upon Milley’s scheduled resignation on September 30th, as mandated by law. The other two nominees are Gen. Randy George for the position of Army Chief of Staff and Gen. Eric Smith, nominated to be the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Remarkably, Tuberville did not object to these confirmation votes. He indicated his intention to maintain his holds but expressed willingness to consider voting on the nominations individually via roll call—a potentially time-consuming process that could extend over several months and potentially disrupt other legislative priorities.

Schumer characterized Tuberville’s actions as obstruction and emphasized the need to confront it directly. He stated, “Senator Tuberville is forcing us to face his obstruction head-on. I want to make clear to my Republican colleagues—this cannot continue.”

It is expected that Gen. Brown’s confirmation will occur on Wednesday evening, with confirmation votes for Gen. Smith and Gen. George anticipated later this week.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby acknowledged the positive news of the likely confirmation of the three nominees but expressed frustration, emphasizing that this resolution doesn’t address the broader problem. There are still 316 other general and flag officer nominations pending due to Tuberville’s holds.

Tuberville reiterated on Wednesday that he intends to maintain holds on the remaining nominations until the Pentagon revises its policy of funding travel for service members seeking abortion or reproductive care out of state. The Biden administration implemented this policy in response to changes in abortion rights following a Supreme Court decision and restrictive state laws.

In a bid to compel Tuberville to reconsider his stance, Democrats had previously refused to bring individual nominations to the Senate floor, citing the lengthy confirmation process that would ensue. However, Schumer’s announcement on Wednesday indicated a shift in strategy, driven by the absence of alternatives. He criticized Tuberville for using the nominees as pawns in this political standoff.

The ongoing holds have generated frustration among members of both political parties, and a clear resolution to this larger standoff remains uncertain. Schumer did not specify whether he plans to present additional nominations for a Senate vote.

In recent days, this months-long impasse has evolved into a complex procedural exchange, with Tuberville claiming a victory of sorts after Schumer’s recent actions, despite the fact that the Pentagon’s abortion policy remains unchanged.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Confirmation

Why is the Senate confirming military nominees?

The Senate is confirming military nominees, including a new chairman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as part of its routine duties to fill key positions in the armed forces.

Who is Senator Tommy Tuberville, and why is he blocking military nominations?

Senator Tommy Tuberville is from Alabama and is blocking military nominations due to his objections to the Pentagon’s abortion policy, particularly the funding of travel for service members seeking abortion or reproductive care out of state.

What prompted Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to change his strategy?

Chuck Schumer decided to force votes on some senior nominees because Senator Tuberville’s holds were preventing the confirmation of military nominations in groups, and the process of bringing up individual nominations for a vote was deemed too time-consuming.

How are these holds affecting the confirmation process?

These holds are causing delays in the confirmation process for military nominees, potentially affecting the readiness and leadership of the armed forces.

Are there other nominees affected by these holds?

Yes, there are 316 other general and flag officer nominations pending due to Senator Tuberville’s holds, creating a broader standoff in the Senate.

What is the White House’s stance on this situation?

The White House acknowledges the likely confirmation of the three nominees as positive but expresses frustration over the ongoing holds, emphasizing that this doesn’t provide a solution for the other pending nominations.

What options are being considered to resolve this standoff?

The path to resolving this standoff remains uncertain, as members of both political parties are frustrated. It is unclear whether additional nominations will be presented for a Senate vote.

What is the background on the Pentagon’s abortion policy?

The Pentagon’s abortion policy involves funding travel for service members who need to go out of state to access abortion or other reproductive care. This policy was implemented in response to changes in abortion rights following a Supreme Court decision and state-level restrictions on abortion.

More about Confirmation

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Reader123 September 21, 2023 - 1:42 am

Tuberville is really causin’ a ruckus o’er the Pentagon’s abortion thing, huh? Schumer had to change tactics ’cause things got too slow.

PoliticsEnthusiast September 21, 2023 - 6:14 pm

It’s frustratin’ seein’ these military nominees stuck in the Senate. The whole situation’s a mess.

EagleEyeReporter September 21, 2023 - 7:18 pm

Schumer’s tryna untangle this web Tuberville spun. Wonder if they’ll come up with a real fix.

NewsJunkie44 September 21, 2023 - 8:55 pm

I reckon it’s good they’re confirm’n some of ’em at least. But what ’bout the others? This holdup’s not helpin’ anybody.


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