New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer loves to lament how Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s protest of the Pentagon’s abortion policy supposedly “weaken[s] our national security.” So, why isn’t he using his power as Senate majority leader to do anything about it?
Since March, Tuberville has used his position on the Senate Armed Services Committee to slow down military personnel moves requiring Senate confirmation to protest the Pentagon’s use of taxpayer money to cover service members’ travel expenses to get abortions. To be clear, Tuberville is not blocking votes but is forcing the committee to vote on each nomination individually rather than voting “en masse on large numbers of nominations.”
Despite fomenting baseless claims that Tuberville’s protest is putting “American security in jeopardy,” Schumer could easily utilize existing Senate procedures to bring President Biden’s military nominations to the floor for a confirmation vote.
As noted by The Daily Signal’s Ryan Walker, many “non-controversial nominees” are confirmed by the Senate via “a request for unanimous consent,” which requires the unanimous support of the upper chamber’s 100 senators. While refusal to consent by a single senator would initiate a “hold” on any one nominee, it wouldn’t “doom” the nomination altogether.
A hold “just means the majority leader will have to use Senate floor time … to confirm the nominee,” Walker wrote. “After years of escalating attacks on applying the filibuster to nomination votes, all it takes to confirm most nominees is a simple majority vote and two hours of debate. If the majority leader stacks the votes properly, he can confirm four nominees in a single day, although Schumer rarely has shown such urgency.”
If Tuberville’s protest is endangering national security, as Schumer claims, then why isn’t the latter using every available tool at his disposal to do something about it?
In all likelihood, the Senate’s leading Democrat would rather play politics than actually staff the military he contends will falter without Biden’s “woke” nominees to run it. If military readiness was his priority, Schumer wouldn’t have kept the Senate on summer vacation for several weeks or sent senators home early last week; he would be forcing votes on military nominations every day.
Instead, Schumer will keep running to the nearest camera to feign outrage about pending military nominations, all the while possessing the power to do something about it.