Top DOD nominees advance to Senate floor but face Tuberville's blockade

By Tony Bertuca / July 20, 2023 at 11:10 AM

The Senate Armed Services Committee today approved the nominations of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown, who has been picked to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Army Vice Chief Gen. Randy George, who has been selected to be the service's next chief of staff.

The nominees, however, will now be put in limbo as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) continues his blanket hold on all military nominations and promotions over his opposition to the Defense Department’s leave and travel reimbursement policies for servicemembers seeking abortion services.

The committee was recently briefed by DOD officials on the legality of the policies, leading Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) to declare any further opposition to be the product of either “willful ignorance or stubborn hubris.”

Tuberville and other Republicans, however, said after the briefing that they remain unconvinced that DOD’s policies are not an end-run around the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the spending of federal money on abortions.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a press conference yesterday that Democrats were willing to offer Tuberville a floor vote on a standalone amendment to the annual defense authorization bill currently under consideration -- a vote he would likely lose.

“Tuberville said he wanted a vote, we’ll see what happens,” Schumer said.