“The Biden administration wants to mobilize our military against the weakest and most defenseless — the unborn.”
“I am asking for the Pentagon to drop a policy that is illegal. I’m asking Secretary Austin to do his job and follow the law.”
“The burden is not on me to pass legislation to stop this illegal policy…The burden is on the administration to stop breaking the law.”
WASHINGTON — In keeping with a pledge he made to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last December, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) yesterday blocked another attempt by Senate Democrats to circumvent his delay of military promotions before the U.S. Senate. In February, Senator Tuberville placed a “hold” on all U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) general and flag officer nominations over the department’s new policy of funding travel and paid time off for service members and their dependents seeking an elective abortion.
Senator Tuberville believes the DoD is circumventing the role of Congress and flouting existing federal law, which narrowly restricts the use of taxpayer funds and DoD facilities being used to provide or facilitate abortions for service members.
This is the fifth time Senator Tuberville has thwarted Democrats from breaking his hold on these nominations, a position he recently explained in The Wall Street Journaland AL.com. U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS) joined Senator Tuberville in speaking to keep the hold in place, highlighting the growing support for Senator Tuberville.
Excerpts from Senator Tuberville’s remarks can be found below, and his complete remarks can be found here.
“We boast the most powerful military in the history of the world. The purpose of that military is for the strongest among us to protect the weak. In America, those with the broadest shoulders guard those with the narrowest. Yet, the Biden administration wants to mobilize our military against the weakest and most defenseless — the unborn. I believe that is wrong.”
“You know, I didn’t get a phone call from Secretary Austin until one month after the hold went into effect. One month. During the call, he offered me absolutely no compromise. He didn’t offer to meet or discuss… I read Secretary Austin’s letter to Senator Warren. It’s long on opinion, short on facts.”
“The Biden administration has done everything possible to turn our military into just one more institution for left-wing social engineering.”
“So, let’s remember what I am asking for. I am asking for the Pentagon to drop a policy that is illegal. I’m asking Secretary Austin to do his job and follow the law.”
“I understand that Senator Bennet is a strong supporter of abortion. That’s all understood. But if he wants this abortion policy, then let’s pass a bill. But it hasn’t been done that way. Democrats know that they can’t get that done. They know they don’t have the votes. The burden is not on me to pass legislation to stop this illegal policy. That’s not my job. The burden is on the administration to stop breaking the law.”
“I’m glad that Senator Warren is concerned about our military readiness. Maybe she’ll actually vote for this year’s defense bill. She hasn’t voted for it since 2017. Senator Warren has a long history of holding senior military leadership nominations. A long history. In fact, she held the nomination of one of our witnesses at the most recent Armed Services Committee hearing — Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall. This was the same witness she asked about my hold…Senator Warren held his nomination several times. And guess what? She got what she wanted from the Pentagon. Just like Senator Bennet with his hold on military nominations.”
“So, I’m glad Senator Warren is concerned about military readiness. It excites me that she’s excited about the military. Maybe now Senator Warren and Senator Schumer will support funding our military at the level necessary to actually win a war. That’s something else that we’ve resisted doing throughout their long careers in Washington.”
“The United States Senate has had more than 30 days off already this year. If we want to pass this, let’s vote. But we’ve had 30 days off. That’s not including weekends. The rhetoric just doesn’t match the reality. This is more than enough time for us to have confirmed literally all of the nominations we’ve been talking about. We could’ve already done this.”
“If my Democratic colleagues actually were concerned, then we would be voting on these nominations. And if Secretary Austin is so worried he can’t live without these nominees, he can suspend his memo. That’s all he has to do. Drop your memo, and these nominees will proceed by unanimous consent. I’m a man of my word. I’ll stand down. Until then, I’m standing up for the Constitution and the unborn.”
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June 2022, the Department of Defense claimed in a memorandum that the ruling would “have significant implications for…the readiness of the Force,” but provided no evidence to support this conclusion.
On July 15, 2022, Senator Tuberville and Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee sent a letter calling on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to justify the assertion. The letter went unanswered.
On October 20, 2022, Secretary Austin released another memorandum outlining the Department’s intent to develop policies, procedures, and programs to expand taxpayer-subsided abortion in the military beyond what is allowed under federal statute.
On December 9, 2022, Senator Tuberville notified Secretary Austin that he would place a hold on Department of Defense nominees if the Department implemented this abortion plan, which goes even further beyond what is allowed in statute.
On February 16, 2023, Secretary Austin released another memorandum, this one announcing the formal implementation of the abortion policy to fund travel and paid time off for service members and their dependents seeking an abortion.
On March 8, 2023, Senator Tuberville followed through with his pledge to hold all general and flag officer nominations on the Senate floor.
Senator Tuberville’s hold forces the Senate to consider and vote on the nominations by regular order instead of approving them in batches by unanimous consent. The nominations can still be approved by the Senate, but the Majority Leader must make additional time for them to be considered on the floor.
The department’s authority to fund abortions is governed by 10 U.S.C. 1093, which limits abortions to cases of rape, incest, or pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother. These rules apply to both service members and their dependents. Given this provision, the DoD has averaged less than 20 abortions per year, with 91 abortions at DoD facilities occurring between 2016–2021. According to a third-party study, under the new policy, the number of abortions subsidized by taxpayers through the DoD could increase to 4,100 annually — 205 times the number of abortions performed last year.
Senator Tuberville’s efforts have received strong support from conservative leaders, including Dr. Ben Carson, Founder of American Cornerstone Institute; Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony Pro-life America; Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote.org; Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council; Kevin Roberts, President of The Heritage Foundation; Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life Action; Jessica Anderson, Executive Director of Heritage Action for America; Brent Bozell, Founder and President of Media Research Center; Morton Blackwell, Chairman of Conservative Leadership PAC; Dean Nelson, Executive Director of Human Coalition Action; Penny Nance, President of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee; Catherine Glenn Foster, President and CEO of Americans United for Life; Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., President of The Ethics and Public Policy Center; Ken Blackwell, Chairman of Conservative Action Project; Mike Berry, Vice President of External Affairs of First Liberty; Star Parker, Founder and President of Center for Urban Renewal and Education; Paul Teller, Executive Director of Advancing American Freedom; David Bozell, President of For America; Elaine Donnelly, President of Center for Military Readiness; Kelly Shackelford, President/CEO of First Liberty Institute; Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch; Former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen, Ohio; Diana L. Banister of Sovereign Global Solutions; John Wahl, Chairman of the Alabama GOP; Stephanie Smith, President and CEO of the Alabama Policy Institute; and the Alabama Eagle Forum.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.