The Senate Rules Committee voted along party lines on Tuesday to advance a resolution that would allow Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to confirm more than 350 military promotions being held up by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) in a single package.
The resolution, however, would not apply to nominees to the Joint Chiefs of Staff or commanders nominated to lead Combatant Commands.
The Rules panel’s 9-7 vote means Schumer can bring the resolution to the Senate floor, but it needs 60 votes to pass.
“One member of the Senate, the senior senator from Alabama, has defied long-standing Senate custom and prevented the swift bipartisan confirmation of hundreds of generals and flag officers,” Schumer, a member of the Rules Committee, said before the vote. “What Sen. Tuberville is truly an anomaly that does much harm and requires a response."
Schumer added, “If my Republican colleagues can’t convince Sen. Tuberville to relent, I will bring it to the floor shortly for a vote.”
“We need to get these military nominees confirmed ASAP for the sake of our national security,” he said.
Even though Republican senators are growing exasperated over Tuberville’s nine-month hold on hundreds of military nominees to protest the Pentagon’s abortion policy, they’re not ready to vote for a resolution to change Senate procedure for the rest of the 118th Congress.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who also sits on the Rules Committee, said he opposes the Pentagon’s policy of paying the travel expenses of service members who cross state lines to obtain abortions but reiterated that he does not support Tuberville’s holds.
“As I’ve said for months now, our colleague from Alabama’s response is not, not, the way to reach the desired outcome he and I share. In fact, it’s created a nearly unprecedented situation for the Senate to address,” McConnell said.
Nevertheless, the GOP leader voted with other Republicans against the resolution.
He said “productive discussions” about reaching a deal with Tuberville are “ongoing” and “I’m of the mind that we ought to allow them to continue.”
He said he would oppose the resolution “at this particular moment,” reserving the option of supporting the resolution later this year.