Defense Secretary Blasts GOP for Blocking Military Promotions

( – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin slammed Republican Senators for blocking military promotions as unprecedented, unsafe, and unnecessary. The stalling of Senate-confirmed military leaders, which receive confirmation for promotions, now means military services in the Department of Defense lack confirmed leadership due to retirement.

While Austin did not name Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), the allusion was obvious. Tuberville has blocked hundreds of appointments for months due to the Defense Department’s policy to provide paid time off and travel reimbursement for service members who seek an abortion.

While the attack against Tuberville from the Biden administration and Democratic congressional officials is strong, his allies say it is wrong to assert that this move is unprecedented. Military holdings previously had happened in the early 1990s after the Navy’s Tailhook scandal, which dealt with officers accused of sexual assault upon civilians, government employees, and military spouses.

Furthermore, supporters of Tuberville’s move assert that no jobs are going unfilled while the hold is in place, as experienced acting officials serve in the roles until confirmation occurs. Additionally, Tuberville has talked to the Secretary of Defense twice over the last month, attempting to dissuade the Defense Department’s abortion policy. However, Austin asserts that the policy is legal.

The subsidization of travel and paid time off for abortion has been a heated topic for Congress, with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives wishing to rescind the policy. In contrast, the Democratic-controlled Senate has skipped floor votes on abortion access. While Democrats control the Senate for now, the objection of a minority of Senators can allow for a stop in the promotions, as the Senate requires more consensus for its work to pass.

Abortion will remain a wedge issue as the Senate Republican Conference gears up for the 2024 elections. While the overturn of Roe v. Wade may prove controversial in some swing states, Republicans need only to gain two seats to hold a Senate majority. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, and Sherrod Brown are all up for election in West Virginia, Montana, and Ohio, which went for Trump by 38.9%, 16.4%, and 8%, which proves to be an opportunity for the GOP to regain a majority. In the meantime, the Defense Department will likely continue the abortion policy despite Republican objections.

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