Sen. Tommy Tuberville told reporters Tuesday that he is ending most of his months-long blockade of military promotions, paving the way for hundreds of promotions.
“I have no control over anybody else putting a hold on somebody,” he said, according to Politico. “But for myself, they are released as we speak.”
Senate approves 425 promotions
Update 5:20 p.m. EST Dec. 5: The Senate approved about 425 military promotions, according to The Associated Press. The move came after Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., ended his months-long blockade of nominations, spurred by his opposition to a Pentagon abortion policy.
Tuberville had been under pressure from members of both parties to end his holds as senators complained about the toll it was taking on service members and their families. Senators were also concerned about U.S. military readiness due to the leadership void, according to the AP.
“Thank God, these military officers will now get the promotion they so rightfully earned,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Original report: The Alabama Republican said he will still demand individual votes for four-star generals and admirals, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“I’m not going to hold the promotions of these people any longer. We just released them, everybody,” Tuberville said, according to the newspaper. “I think about 440 of them, everybody but 10 or 11, four stars.”
Since February, Tuberville has imposed a blanket hold on senior military promotions in protest of a Pentagon policy that gives troops time off and travel funds for abortions and other reproductive care, according to The Associated Press and NPR. The policy was implemented after the fall of Roe v. Wade last year.
On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said officials were “encouraged by the news” and planned to continue working with Tuberville to lift the final holds.
“From a Department of Defense standpoint we have a mission to do, and we require senior leaders in key positions to help lead and conduct the operations of the Department of Defense,” he said.
“As evidenced by everything that’s going on in the world right now, we have a very important mission in terms of defending this nation, and anytime you add a level of uncertainty into the chain of command it creates an unnecessary friction (and) it has an impact on readiness.”
Last month, Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said Tuberville’s holds were impacting 455 nominations, including those of 451 general and flag officers, and creating holes impacting “our readiness or national security and our military families.”
“These holes have lasted far too long and every day that goes by our department and our force suffer from them,” she said.
Tuberville insisted that his holds had no impact on readiness.
“If I thought this was happening, I wouldn’t be doing this. And I’ve told you that all along,” he told CNN in October. “And the people that I trust tell me that it’s not.”
It was not immediately clear what prompted Tuberville to drop his holds on Tuesday. He had been facing mounting pressure and frustration from fellow lawmakers, including his GOP colleagues, for months, Politico reported.