Senior military nominations advance to meet Tuberville's blanket hold

By Tony Bertuca / September 27, 2023 at 2:50 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee has voted to advance the nominations of Adm. Lisa Franchetti to be chief of naval operations and Gen. David Allvin to be Air Force chief of staff, setting up confirmation votes that will need to be considered individually if they are to shirk the blanket hold put in place months ago by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recently decided to hold individual votes to confirm Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles “C.Q.” Brown, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George and Marine Corps Commandant Eric Smith.

Though the Senate normally advances military nominations and promotions through speedier, bipartisan votes where many nominees can be approved at once, Tuberville is blocking that process over his opposition to the Pentagon’s leave and travel policies for servicemembers seeking abortions. His hold covers more than 300 military nominations.

Schumer has not said how he would proceed with other senior defense nominees awaiting confirmation. But he had previously said he did not want the Senate to confirm the nominees individually as it could set a precedent in the future that could further slow the nomination process. Schumer said he changed his mind concerning Brown, George and Smith because getting the Joint Chiefs in place is a national security priority.

Tuberville, meanwhile, has vowed to continue his nomination blockade until the Pentagon changes its policy on abortion.

The Government Accountability Office, however, recently said that the Defense Department’s abortion policy is exempt from congressional review.

A Congressional Research Service report found that it would take the Senate more than 30 days to confirm the nominees impacted by Tuberville’s hold if lawmakers worked 24 hours per day without stopping. It would take the Senate 89 days if lawmakers worked eight hours a day on just the nominations.