Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is taking heat from Senate Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), for his hold on general and flag officer nominations on the chamber floor in response to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s policy to allow military resources to be used to provide abortion.
The Biden-era policy was enacted as an apparent response to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization high court ruling. It allows female soldiers in states where abortion is illegal to receive up to three weeks of administrative leave and transportation allowances to obtain abortion services in different states.
On Wednesday, Senate Democrats attempted to push through the almost 200 nominations again. The Alabama senior U.S. Senator offered no indication he would give in.
“I will stay here until hell freezes over. I am not going to be intimidated by a campaign of selective outrage,” he said. “I gave the Pentagon fair warning. They chose to go forward with this policy.”
Tuberville argued his effort was about resisting efforts to force taxpayers to fund abortion, which he said had been “a bipartisan consensus for more than 40 years.”
During an earlier floor speech, Tuberville offered his justifications for the holds.
“Federal law only allows the military to provide abortions in very narrow circumstances: rape, incest, and threat to the life of the mother,” he said. “Yet, the Biden administration has turned the DoD into an abortion travel agency. They did it using a memo. The Biden administration wants abortion on demand for not just those enlisted in our military but their family members as well. This would expand the policy to millions of people. Now American taxpayers are on the hook to cover non-chargeable paid time off and travel costs for abortions for our military and their families.”
“This goes beyond the law,” Tuberville continued. “We’ve still got a constitution in this country. And the Constitution is clear: Congress makes the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws. Secretary Austin seems to think he can make or change the law without going through Congress. It would be irresponsible for the United States Senate to allow an administration to walk all over the legislative branch. Secretary Austin cannot change the law by memo. Congress cannot be replaced by a post on the Department of Defense website.
“In December, I warned the department that I would hold their nominees if they tried to force abortion on demand on our military,” he added. “They did it anyway. The Department knew what the consequences would be. This was their choice. I will continue to hold these nominees until the Department of Defense follows the law — or Congress changes the law. In the meantime, we should do our job and vote.”
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