Congress

Hundreds of military promotions granted after Tuberville drops block

The senator began holding up promotions in the Armed Services Committee about 10 months ago in protest of the military's abortion policy.

Hundreds of military promotions granted after Tuberville drops block
Mariam Zuhaib/AP
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Sen. Tommy Tuberville lifted his hold on almost all military promotions on Tuesday. 

The senator from Alabama began holding up promotions in the Armed Services Committee about 10 months ago in protest of the military's abortion policy. The policy allows servicemembers to be reimbursed for travel if they need to go to another state for an abortion. 

Tuberville's plan ultimately failed, as the military did not change its policy. 

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"I ran on pro-life in Alabama," Tuberville said. "And so, it's just unfortunate the only opportunity you have in the minority in the Senate is to put a hold on something."

Tuberville said he would continue to hold up promotions for Four Star generals, but would back down on lower-ranking members amid pressure from Democrats and fellow Republicans. They argued that the holds on promotions could weaken the U.S. military.

Prior to Tuesday's announcement, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was considering changing Senate rules to bypass Tuberville. That appeared to be one of the reasons Tuberville reconsidered his position. 

"When you change the rules, it's hard to beat somebody," Tuberville said. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Schumer approved 425 of the 445 stalled military promotions by unanimous consent. 

"These confirmations are long overdue, and should never have been held up in the first place," President Joe Biden said in a statement after the block was lifted. "Senator Tuberville, and the Republicans who stood with him, needlessly hurt hundreds of servicemembers and military families and threatened our national security – all to push a partisan agenda. I hope no one forgets what he did."