Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) will hold the nominations of all military and civilian candidates before the Senate as a protest against the Pentagon’s new policy to pay for travel expenses for service members to obtain abortions.
“The Secretary of Defense is following through on his radical plan to facilitate thousands of abortions a year with taxpayer dollars,” Tuberville said in an exclusive statement to Fox News Digital. “So I will follow through on my plan to hold all DoD civilian, flag and chief officer nominations that come before the U.S. Senate.”
“As I said, if Secretary of State Austin wants to change the law, he has to go through Congress. This is an illegal expansion of DoD authority and a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars, and I will hold him accountable. The American people want the military to focus on national defense, not advance a progressive political agenda,” he added.
Tuberville’s hold means the Senate will not be able to quickly confirm President Biden’s nominations by unanimous consent, as the Senate often does. Instead, Defense Department nominees would require a formal Senate vote, which could make it more difficult to confirm these nominations.
Senate Democrats already hold a slim 51-49 majority, meaning a few absent Democratic senators could be enough for some of Biden’s nominees. Just this week, for example, Sen. John Fetterman, the US defense secretary, checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center due to clinical depression, raising more questions about the Senate’s near-term ability to confirm Biden’s nominees.
There are currently six defense-related candidates in the queue to be affected by this hold, and that number is likely to grow.
On Thursday, the Pentagon released its official plan to pay for travel for service members who seek abortions or want to accompany a spouse who wants to terminate a pregnancy.