Pentagon Promotions Getting Blocked?

( According to media sources and the senator himself, Alabama’s Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville is single-handedly delaying confirmations of senior Department of Defense (DOD) jobs due to what he deems executive overstep into Congress’ authority over abortion regulations.

In February, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said service members stationed in states with solid abortion prohibitions or regulations might use military leave and funds to seek abortions in other states. Reports are that he has no intention of giving up on his blockade of the promotions of 160 military leaders to crucial posts in the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East, and NATO until the Department of Defense changes its stance.

Most Democrats in the Senate believe that Tuberville’s decision endangers national security by leaving vacant key posts in locations where the United States is fighting off urgent foreign threats.

After a historic Supreme Court judgment in June eliminated federally mandated access to abortion, Senator Jeanne Shaheen joined 38 Senate Democrats in a letter to Austin on Monday, pushing him to stiffen his position on the new policy to guarantee abortion access.

Like Tuberville, some Republicans are opposed to what they see as taxpayer-funded abortions and a violation of the Hyde Amendment, which prevents the Department of Defense (DOD) from providing abortions at military medical facilities except under very limited circumstances.

Yet, several Republican leaders have said that they, too, are concerned about the consequences of delaying a process that usually moves along without much discussion for crucial jobs.

At a meeting with Austin last week, Tuberville reaffirmed his commitment to using his position on the Armed Services Committee to exert pressure on the Department of Defense (DOD), stating that he would extend the hold to civilian nominees as well if Austin did not reverse the policy.

On March 24, Tuberville observed, “Austin appears to believe he can create or amend the legislation without going through Congress.”

On Tuesday morning, during a committee hearing on the Department of Defense’s fiscal year 2024 budget proposal, he will be able to face Austin head-on.