Washington, Dec 5 (EFE). – Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville, who for almost a year blocked hundreds of military promotions proposed by US President Joe Biden, announced on Tuesday the lifting of most of his vetoes. However, he will continue to block a dozen promotions to the rank of general.
“I’m releasing everybody – I’ve still got a hold on…11 four-star generals. Everybody else is completely released from me,” Tuberville said.
With his veto, the Alabama senator wanted the Pentagon to change its policy on reproductive freedom.
“We fought hard. We did the right thing for the unborn and for our military by fighting back against executive overreach and an abortion policy that’s not legal,” Tuberville said Tuesday.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, which guaranteed a nationwide right to abortion, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a policy in October to ensure access to reproductive health care for all troops.
Among other things, the policy allowed female soldiers to obtain abortions on out-of-state travel and days off.
“We didn’t get the victory we wanted, we still got a bad policy, but we’re proud to stand up for the taxpayers of this country,” he added.
The Alabama senator’s stall affected more than 450 promotions, some of them very senior, according to The Washington Post.
“Our service members are the backbone of our country and deserve the pay and promotions they have earned. In the end, this was all pointless,” President Joe Biden said after the veto was overridden.
“Senator Tuberville and the Republicans who supported him needlessly hurt hundreds of service members and military families and threatened our national security – all to push a partisan agenda,” he added.
“I hope no one forgets what he did,” Biden said, thanking the Senate for confirming the pending charges.
In the US Senate, a single senator can put a hold on a nomination or piece of legislation, even if the other 99 want it to move forward.Usually, majority party leaders get around this by holding a series of votes to move a measure and lift the hold.
Tuberville’s filibuster was unique, however, because there are hundreds of military nominations and promotions, and to get around it, Democratic leaders would have needed to hold roll call votes on every single one.
To avoid lengthy roll calls, the Senate has for decades lumped together military promotions and approved them by voice vote.
Tuberville’s strategy caused discomfort within the Republican ranks themselves, since the Pentagon’s positions used to be consensus and the abortion issue has hurt conservatives at the polls.
The Alabama lawmaker, a former American football coach who has allied himself with former President Donald Trump, is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. EFE