“If it weren’t for hypocrisy around this place, I don’t think we’d have anything to do.”
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) called out Democrats for their hypocrisy on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) months-long hold on health-related nominees, which came to an end in September. For the past 21 months, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been without a confirmed Director. In June, Sen. Sanders announced his hold on all health-related nominations, including the nomination of Dr. Monica Bertagnolli, Joe Biden’s nominee to be NIH Director, until the Administration publishes a ‘comprehensive plan’ to lower drug prices. In September, Senator Sanders announced that the White House had met his demands, and lifted his hold. While Democrats have spent 7 months complaining about Sen. Tuberville’s holds on military promotions over DoD’s illegal taxpayer-funded abortion-related travel policy, they have been virtually silent about Sen. Sanders’s blanket hold on health-related nominations—which yielded his desired policy change from the Biden Administration.
Read Senator Tuberville’s remarks below or watch here.
“I’d like to take the opportunity to draw a comparison between this nomination and other nominations pending in the Senate, ones that I am holding from passing by unanimous consent. Your predecessor Dr. Collins was approved by unanimous consent in 2009, only 4 weeks after being nominated. HELP committee did not even hold a regular hearing like this.
You have faced a much different confirmation process. Your nomination was held up by Chairman Sanders, which is his prerogative. We have had no confirmed NIH director for 21 months. Back in June, Chairman Sanders publicly vowed to oppose your nomination until he received the Administration’s ‘comprehensive plan’ on lowering drug prices, which we all know that’s what he is about, and a lot of us are about. As I recall, he promised to hold up not only your nomination, but all health-related nominations going through the HELP Committee.
As a senator, he has a right to do that. He wanted a policy concession from the Biden Administration. And apparently, he got one. I was one of many who want us to have a confirmed NIH director. A lot of people have wanted us to have a confirmed director, it’s not unusual. But I don’t remember any Democrats saying the sky was falling because we didn’t have a confirmed NIH director, because this is a very important position. I don’t remember Democrats calling the Chairman names or even threatening him. I don’t remember anybody wanting to change the rules of the Senate because of it. I didn’t really say a word about it. If it weren’t for hypocrisy around this place, I don’t think we’d have anything to do.
Chairman Sanders got what he wanted. On September 8, Chairman Sanders announced that the White House met his demands and he announced this hearing. Chairman Sanders used his prerogative as a Senator. I don’t have all the details of the concessions the Biden administration made to Chairman Sanders. But I respect his rights as a Senator.
Frankly, I appreciate Chairman Sanders’s defense of the legislative branch. We ought to legislate around here. That’s what we were sent here to do. We weren’t elected to just outsource our jobs to Joe Biden or any other president. The Chairman and I don’t agree on everything, but at least he is standing up for what he believes in and the power of the Senate.”
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.