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Tags: senate | back pay | tuberville | abortion

Senate OKs Back Pay for Those Impacted by Tuberville's Hold

By    |   Thursday, 14 December 2023 10:19 PM EST

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Senate approved a bill on Thursday aimed at granting a retroactive pay raise to service members impacted by Sen. Tommy Tuberville's hold on military promotions, which the Alabama Republican recently released.

The bipartisan effort, led by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Mike Rounds, R-S.D.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; and Angus King, I-Maine, who caucuses with Democrats, gained support from all 100 senators without the need for a roll call vote, reported NBC News.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., expressed relief on the Senate floor, declaring, "Tonight, at last, we're giving these military families, families that have already sacrificed so much, the justice they deserve — their back pay. America is keeping its promise and saying to these men and women, 'You served us well. You don't deserve to be penalized in any way at all.'"

Tuberville initially placed a hold on over 400 military promotions, relenting Dec. 5 after a 10-month protest against a Defense Department abortion policy. Following the removal of Tuberville's hold, the Senate promptly confirmed 425 military nominees. The holds continue for about 11 of the highest-ranking military officers.

Tuberville opposed a DOD policy that provides paid leave and travel reimbursement for service members seeking reproductive health care, including abortions. Tuberville's objection revolved around the travel reimbursement component, which remained a focal point of his ongoing obstruction of military nominee promotion approvals. The senator opposes the policy on the grounds that, he argued, the policy constitutes taxpayer-funded abortion, ABC News reported.

The bipartisan group behind the bill, which included Tuberville as a co-sponsor, emphasized the significance of providing financial redress to affected military families. The legislation aims to rectify the financial impact experienced by service members during the prolonged hold on promotions.

Under the existing DOD policy, which remains unchanged, service members can seek reimbursement for the expenses incurred when traveling for an abortion. Tuberville's blockade faced bipartisan criticism, with figures like Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Lindsey Graham of South Carollina, and Michael McCaul of Texas, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressing disapproval.

The Senate-approved bill now advances to the House of Representatives. However, House lawmakers are not expected to reconvene for voting until the following month, delaying the potential resolution for affected service members and their families.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.

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In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Senate approved a bill on Thursday aimed at granting a retroactive pay raise to service members impacted by Sen. Tommy Tuberville's hold on military promotions, which the Alabama Republican recently released.
senate, back pay, tuberville, abortion
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2023-19-14
Thursday, 14 December 2023 10:19 PM
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