July 16, 2023

Calling it a danger to national security, Duckworth blasts Tuberville’s hold on military promotions

“We’ve given him many options for a vote, and he’s turned them all down,” Duckworth said.

Source: Politico


Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) slammed Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) on Sunday, calling his controversial blockade of more than 270 military promotions a threat to national security.

“It is bizarre for Senator Tuberville to say that he’s not jeopardizing national security when he injects politics into the defense process. And frankly this is not the time to do it, not when there is a war going on in Europe, not when American leadership is vital to the international global order,” Duckworth, an Army veteran helicopter pilot who lost both legs while serving in Iraq, said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“It’s beyond distressing. It is just that. It is a jeopardization to our national security.”

The Republican senator’s monthslong hold on military confirmations over the Pentagon’s policy of paying for service members to travel to seek abortions has left the Marine Corps without a Senate-confirmed leader for the first time in 100 years. If his blockade continues in the coming weeks, it could mean the same for the leaders of the Army, Navy and the Joint Chiefs nominee.

More than 200 other military promotions (and accompanying pay raises) have also been blocked.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), a former CIA officer, warned that foreign adversaries are likely watching as U.S. military linger in limbo awaiting confirmation.

“I think that it is real that foreign countries are recognizing that one person can absolutely put to a screeching halt the progression of military careers, and importantly, can stop vital positions to our national security from being filled,” she said Sunday on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki.”

Tuberville has said he would be willing to vote on nominees one by one, but it would require much more time to confirm the hundreds of promotions that are usually approved by the Senate in large blocks.

“We’ve given him many options for a vote, and he’s turned them all down. [Iowa Republican Sen.] Joni Ernst has a bill that goes even further than where Senator Tuberville is, and he declined that vote. And Republican leadership has offered him multiple off-ramps to this, and he’s backed himself into a corner,” Duckworth said Sunday.

But Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) defended Tuberville’s blockade Sunday, noting that “every senator has the right to place holds on nominees on an issue of policy importance.”

“Senator Duckworth has had the exact same hold that Tommy Tuberville does a couple years ago on generals to be promoted,” Sullivan said on “Meet the Press.” In 2020, Duckworth announced plans to place a hold on 1,000 military promotions until then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed that the promotion of impeachment witness Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman would not be blocked. Duckworth’s holds lasted less than two weeks.

“Every single one of these kind of holds, 99% of them get resolved through compromise. And what needs to happen, the secretary of Defense, Senator Tuberville, Chuck Schumer need to sit down and have that pass,” Sullivan said.

By:  Kelly Garrity