Lost amid the constant castigation of Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., over his unanimous consent holds on military promotions is the outcome that puts an end to it all — a vote on the Pentagon's abortion policy.
"Move the policy back, and let's vote on it," Tuberville told Newsweek for a story published Tuesday. "The American people deserve a vote. It's too controversial a topic not to vote on. You don't just say, 'We're just gonna do it this way.' That's not what we do here in this country."
That echoes what Tuberville told Newsmax in June, when he said the Pentagon doesn't "make the laws; we do in this building." Tuberville added then that he would accept the result, no matter which way Congress voted.
But until that vote or until the Pentagon rolls back the policy that Tuberville says is unlawful, "We're going to have holds for a long time," he told Newsmax this month.
Tuberville continues to stand firm in the face of criticism from the left and his own party on the right, military brass and veterans, and even a poll in his home state of Alabama that showed 58% of likely voters said the ex-football coach should drop his holds.
And now a new $150,000 ad campaign launched by VoteVets, a progressive veterans advocacy group, is taking aim at him.
"His Republican Senate colleagues, I think, must be the key," VoteVets senior adviser retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton told Newsweek. "They've got to go up in mass and say, 'Hey, Tommy, we get it. We got the idea. Everybody's got the idea. You are killing the Republican Party. You are killing our chances in 2024, and you are having a dramatic negative impact on national security."
But Tuberville was buoyed over the weekend by comments made by outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, who said military readiness "is better now than they've been in years."
"Every day I hear about readiness this, readiness that," Tuberville told Newsmax on Monday. "I'm sick and tired of hearing about that."
Tuberville's holds number more than 300, including that of a successor to Milley, whose term as chairman of the chiefs ends Sept. 30.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., could bring each promotion to the floor of the Senate individually, but the Congressional Research Service said it would take approximately 700 hours of floor time to vote one at a time.
Further, Schumer doesn't want to set a precedent.
But in the absence of pressure from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to stand down, a McConnell lieutenant joined Tuberville in saying the ball's in Schumer's hands.
"I think we all need to strategize on how to put pressure on Chuck Schumer to bring them up," Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told Newsweek. "I think that is an easy solution right now. Schumer should be bringing these nominations up, and the American people need to understand that Chuck Schumer can bring these nominations up."
Mark Swanson ✉
Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.
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