Through no fault of his own, Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville announced on Tuesday that he’s dropping most of his months-long protest of the Pentagon’s unlawful abortion policy. The revelation came after weeks of threats from his GOP colleagues to side with Senate Democrats to change Senate rules that skirt the holds.
“We did the right thing for the unborn and for our military, fighting back against executive overreach and an abortion policy that’s not legal,” Tuberville said during a Tuesday press conference. “Sen. Chuck Schumer changed the rules on us. … And when you change the rules, it’s hard to beat somebody. … With that being said, I’m not gonna hold the promotions of these people any longer.”
The Alabama senator’s protest began earlier this year following the Defense Department’s implementation of a policy using U.S. taxpayer dollars to pay for service members’ abortion-related travel expenses. Tuberville subsequently used his position on the Senate Armed Services Committee to slow-walk votes on President Biden’s military nominees in protest. Rather than allow the committee to confirm a large number of military nominations “en masse,” the GOP senator’s protest forced the body to vote on each nomination one at a time.
During Tuesday’s presser, Tuberville confirmed he would drop his holds on all promotions except for those of four-star nominees.
In addition to facing attacks from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats — who, despite possessing the power to bring these nominations to the floor for individual confirmation, have baselessly claimed the Alabama senator’s holds harm “military readiness” and “national security” — Tuberville has faced fire from his Republican colleagues. Led by Alaska’s Dan Sullivan, this merry band of useless GOPers began publicly attacking Tuberville early last month over his protest while often regurgitating Democrats’ unsubstantiated “military readiness” talking points.
Among those to join the crusade were Iowa’s Joni Ernst, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, Indiana’s Todd Young, and Utah’s Mitt Romney.
While legacy media will undoubtedly claim that by dropping most of his protest, Tuberville “caved,” it’s actually his spineless Republican colleagues who are responsible for Tuesday’s developments.
As I previously reported, Tuberville reportedly had enough votes to include a provision nuking the Pentagon’s illegal abortion policy in the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. Schumer, however, gutted the provision before the measure could be considered by the upper chamber. It was at this point Schumer began backing a resolution passed by Democrats on the Senate Rules Committee that — if approved by 60 senators on the full floor — would have effectively allowed their party to circumvent Tuberville’s protest and permit the Pentagon’s unlawful policy to go unchallenged.
Despite possessing the numbers to prevent such a resolution from being passed, the aforementioned GOP senators and several others threatened to side with Democrats in altering Senate procedures to override Tuberville’s holds unless the Alabama senator dropped his protest. This left Tuberville with no good options. He could either concede that his Republican colleagues were going to sell him out and adjust his holds accordingly, or he could continue his protest and allow the upper chamber to set a new precedent in which Senate procedures could be altered for partisan purposes.
“This is on everyone who sold him out,” a senior Hill staffer told The Federalist.
With Tuberville’s protest essentially finished, the task of axing the Pentagon’s unlawful and immoral abortion guidance now falls on House Republicans. With control of the House, Speaker Mike Johnson and GOP leadership possess the ability to ensure a provision nuking the DOD policy is included in the final version of the 2024 NDAA.
Conservative organizations, such as Heritage Action for America, have since warned Johnson and House Republicans they will publicly oppose the defense bill if it fails to include such a provision. Johnson did not respond to The Federalist’s previous request for comment on whether he intends to ensure language gutting the Pentagon’s illegal policy will be included in the NDAA.