Tuberville lifting hundreds of military holds

By Tony Bertuca / December 5, 2023 at 2:19 PM

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) announced today that he is lifting his months-long blockade on hundreds of military nominations, following pressure from several GOP colleagues.

Tuberville, who had been blocking military nominations and promotions since February over his opposition to the Defense Department’s travel and leave policy for servicemembers seeking abortions, told several media outlets that his holds, though lifted for about 440 nominees below the four-star level, will continue on approximately 10 senior nominees.

"I'm not going to hold the promotions of these people any longer," Tuberville told reporters. "We just released them -- about 440 of them. Everybody but 10 or 11 four-stars."

Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, said DOD is "encouraged by the news" but will work to get Tuberville to lift all his holds.

"There would be at least 11 four-stars that would be impacted by those continued holds,” he said. “All of those positions are key senior leadership positions to including the vice chiefs of the various services.”

Other holds impact the senior leaders of the Pacific fleet, U.S. Cyber Command and U.S. Space Command.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI), who has spearheaded a resolution to override Tuberville, released a statement saying the holds “have been an affront to the United States military and the Senate.”

Reed said Tuberville has “jeopardized our national security and abused the rights afforded to all Senators.”

“I am glad that hundreds of our nation’s finest military leaders will finally receive their hard-won, merit-based promotions,” he said. “They, and their families, have shown us what grace and grit look like in the face of hardship.”

The Senate soon after confirmed 425 military nominations, a move Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called "long overdue."

"These holds have already dragged on needlessly for months, degrading our military readiness and forcing far too many of our outstanding military families to put their lives on hold and endure even greater sacrifices," he said in a statement. "These unnecessary and unprecedented holds have forced multiple military services to operate without Senate-confirmed leaders and obligated some military leaders to take on two exceptionally demanding jobs at once.

"We also look forward to the Senate's confirmation of the remainder of our highly qualified and apolitical military leaders, so that America can have the fully fielded team it deserves during this critical moment for our national security," Austin added.