Stands strong against eleventh unanimous consent request
WASHINGTON — Keeping the pledge he made to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last December, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) today blocked Senate Democrats’ eleventh attempt to circumvent his delay of military promotions before the U.S. Senate.
Senator Tuberville objected after U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) moved to approve the nomination of General Eric Smith as Commandant of the Marine Corps by unanimous consent.
Excerpts of Senator Tuberville’s speech can be found below, and the entire speech can be viewed HERE.
“Yesterday Senator Schumer sent the Democrat Caucus a long to-do list…Missing from that list was military nominations.”
“General Smith’s is one of the most important. I have a great deal of admiration for General Smith.”
“Earlier today General Smith became the acting head of the Marine Corps. He is doing the same exact job for which he has been nominated. The only difference is that today he is an acting official.”
“This has minimal effect on his ability to lead. There may be a delay to his planning guidance. And he can’t yet move into the Commandant’s residence. But there is little doubt about General Smith’s ability to lead effectively—even now…”
“I believe that the Marine Corps is in good hands right now. But if Chairman Reed and the Democrats are so concerned, then let’s vote.”
“This week the Senate is considering a DOJ nomination that has just 20 employees. I agree this an important nomination.”
“But surely the Commandant of the Marine Corps is more important. So, if Democrats are so worried about General Smith being an acting official, then let’s vote.”
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. Since then, Senator Tuberville has objected to Democrats’ attempts to break the hold eight times, repeatedly pointing out that the nominees could and should be approved by regular order.
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.
On the Senate floor, Democrats have repeatedly made false claims that Senator Tuberville’s hold is leaving vacancies in military positions and leadership. That is untrue. No job is going unfilled due to Senator Tuberville’s hold. The military keeps existing officers in place until their replacements are confirmed.
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; Kris Ullman, President of Eagle Forum; and Eunice Smith, President of 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.