September 19, 2023

Duckworth Calls Out Senator Tuberville’s Reckless, Political Military Hold, Urges Republican Colleagues to Publicly Condemn His Efforts


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)—member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee—joined several of her Senate Democratic colleagues and military leaders in calling out U.S. Senator Tuberville’s (R-AL) reckless, political hold on more than 300 military promotions, which is hurting our military readiness and national security. In her remarks, Duckworth also urged her Republican colleagues to stop disagreeing with Senator Tuberville in secret, but to come forward and publicly condemn Tuberville’s dangerous military hold—otherwise they are complicit in his efforts, too. Full video of Duckworth’s remarks are available here and on Twitter.

“Despite what he says, Senator Tuberville’s months-long hold is hurting our national security, our military readiness and our entire military, including our lowest ranking members who rely on the policy he opposes to get the healthcare they need,” said Duckworth. “It is absolutely unacceptable that a man who never wore the uniform of this great nation is holding it hostage for his own political gain. I call on Senator Tuberville to drop this hold, and I call on my Republican colleagues to come forward and condemn this hold too—because if not, the damage done is on them, too.”

Organized by VoteVets, a visual installation of more than 300 signs—one for each of the growing number of nominations of senior military leaders logjammed by Tuberville—will cover the lawn near the U.S. Senate to bring the scope of this crisis for military readiness into focus for the public.

Duckworth has repeatedly called for Senator Tuberville to end his months-long blanket hold on military promotions. Recently, Duckworth joined several of her Senate Democratic colleagues on the Senate floor to condemn Tuberville’s reckless, partisan hold. In July, she also joined other SASC members in calling on U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to help end Tuberville’s hold. In a hearing, Duckworth called Tuberville out, arguing that his actions have left our Marines without a Commandant for the first time in more than a century, hold our servicemembers and military families hostage over an individual senator’s political agenda and threaten our military readiness and national security.

In May, Duckworth joined colleagues in asking for unanimous consent on the Senate floor to confirm the military nominations that are being blocked by Senate Republicans, led by Tuberville.

Duckworth’s remarks as delivered are below:

You know, this is about our national security. Something that Senator Tuberville says he would not jeopardize—or he says that he would immediately lift his hold if he thought that it jeopardized our national security.

Well, let me tell you, every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said “Our national security is jeopardized.”

Every single Department of Defense official, Secretaries of Defense—Army, Navy, Air Force—have all said the same thing. This is jeopardizing our national security.

When Senator Warren talked about going to the NATO meeting, our United States military officer who was in charge of representing us at NATO could not go because she had not been confirmed. Because she is among the names that are on this lawn today.

So, we did not have a US military rep present who had the full backing of the United States Congress and who had been confirmed by the Senate in order to be there.

This is happening all over the globe today.

And Tommy Tuberville continues to blockade all of these promotions. And it makes absolutely no sense because the argument that he's making—he’s already been given opportunity to fix the issues that he is concerned with.

He has been offered a vote in committee. He's been offered a vote on the floor. He has been offered many off ramps not just by Democrats, but by Republicans. And this is where I call on my Republican colleagues and let them know that they are complicit in this as well.

As long as they allow him to move forward with this, we are going to continue to jeopardize our national security. This is not just on Tommy Tuberville—this is on the Republicans as well because they are letting him do this. They're not putting pressure on him to stop this hold.

And by the way, you want to know why Tommy Tuberville is doing this, it's not for the interests of our nation. It is not for the interests of our military men and women. In fact, the policy that he opposes is one that is most important to the lowest ranking members of our military.

It is our lowest ranking people in the military who have to go to their Commanders and ask permission for a pass to leave post to go get the healthcare that they need. They're the ones who are most vulnerable. They're the ones who are least able to afford to get the care that they need, whatever that care is.

And so, he is not just punishing the leadership, he is punishing the lowest ranking the youngest, most vulnerable members of our military and their family members as well.

And the other thing that he's doing is he is fundraising off of this. He has sent out many fundraising requests. He is proud of what he's doing. He is proud of putting America's national security on the line so that he can fundraise on the backs of these men and women, on the backs of their families, on the backs of every one of our men and women in uniform who put on the uniform of this great nation who stand to defend her, ready to defend her. And yet there's a United States Senator—a single person—fundraising off of them.

I ask you, why is Tommy Tuberville doing this? He is not doing this with the good of the nation. A man who has never worn the uniform of this great nation, who could have at any time join the military, did not. Now he is holding it hostage for his own personal political gain. It is not acceptable.

I call on Tommy Tuberville to drop this hold. I call on my Republican colleagues to step up. Stop talking behind the scenes. Stop talking and saying, “Hey, you know what, I don't agree with this,” behind the scenes. Come forward and make him stop because that is where we can make the difference is our Republicans can step forward because if they do not do this, this is on them as well.

Our nation deserves better than this. Our military men and women deserve better than this. Their families deserve better than this. And by the way, all Americans deserve better than this because our national security is on the line.

Thank you.