Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has relented in his almost year-long fight against the Biden Administration Pentagon policy to subsidize abortions widely viewed to be illegal.
Tuberville’s holds were in protest of a Department of Defense policy imposed after Roe v. Wade was overturned that pays travel costs and provides other benefits for military members traveling outside of the state in which they are stationed to receive an abortion.
“It’s been a long fight,” Coach Tuberville told a gaggle of reporters after meeting with his Senate Republican colleagues. “We fought hard. We did the right thing for the unborn and for our military, fighting back against executive overreach and an abortion policy that’s not legal.”
Tuberville has used his prerogative as a senator to block hundreds of military nominations from moving forward lumped together without debate or individual consideration. That “en blanc” mass passage technically is against Senate rules, but Senate rules are routinely violated by “unanimous consent” to effectively allow legislation, nominations, and other Senate business to proceed without debate or to bypass time constraints.
The tactic is also often used to avoid contentious floor votes and debates.
“I’ve been standing up for the people in Alabama,” he 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.”
EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Tommy Tuberville Scores a Win Against Pentagon-Funded AbortionMatt Perdie / Breitbart News
Tuberville has argued that — the Pentagon’s abortion policies notwithstanding — the Senate should do its job to vet these nominees. “The way our military is today, our top, top leaders need to be vetted, just like everybody else, need to be vetted. We need to know who they are and why they’re making all the decisions of our military.”
Throughout Tuberville’s holds, the Senate has maintained the ability to consider each nominee individually. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) chose not to do so despite the Senate holding few votes and accomplishing little legislatively in 2023.
The Senate has only passed three of the twelve government funding bills for the fiscal year that began in September.
The Alabamian argues Schumer withheld a path to promote Pentagon nominees not because of time constraints but to prevent a vote to authorize the Biden administration’s unilateral change of abortion policy. He called the situation “a two-way street. Schumer held these promotions up for the last year basically because he was not going to give into an illegal policy.”
Tuberville only changed his tactics after Schumer, with the backing of a block of neoconservative Senate Republicans, prepared to change the rules of the Senate to circumvent Tuberville’s holds.
By going along with the Schumer plan, Republican and Democrat senators were prepared to cede much of their Senatorial authority — presumably given to them to advocate for their constituents — to the majority leader, with the promise from Schumer that it would be in good hands.
Tuberville relented to prevent senators from having their ability to do their jobs stripped from them and given to Schumer.
“When you change the rules, it’s hard to beat somebody,” Tuberville said. “I’d have loved to have five downs in football instead of four. But you can’t do it.”
Under Tuberville’s new policy, he will release his holds on “everybody but the ten or eleven four stars. Those will continue to have a hold. And we’re gonna have Senator Schumer to bring up one at a time.”
Tuberville remained gracious throughout his fight despite months of disparaging comments from his Republican colleagues about his tactics and intentions. Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Joni Ernst (R-IO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Todd Young (R-IO) took to the Senate floor on November 1 to lambast Tuberville in emotional attacks that veered towards the personal.
EXCLUSIVE: Tuberville Warns GOP Senators Not to Side with Democrats on Abortion
“He fought the good fight here,” said a senior GOP aide to Breitbart News about Tuberville. “There were too many senators who care more about making defense contractors happy than they do about unborn Americans. How many of them are going to brag about this when the March for Life comes to town again next month?”
By relenting, Tuberville has assured — for now— that no Senate rules changes will take place to take away a senator’s powers. “We’re all together in our caucus that nobody, it’ll be a hundred percent, will vote against any standing order that would change the rules of the Senate for these holds,” he said.
Tuberville is hoping the visibility he gave the Pentagon’s abortion policy will give House Republicans needed backup in ongoing negotiating in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference committee with the Schumer-led Senate. The NDAA the House passed earlier in 2023 included language returning the Pentagon to a decades-held policy preventing taxpayer funding for abortions, including for travel to another state and subsidized time off to receive an abortion.
“We’re still counting on possibly the House [negotiating for] the language in the NDAA,” he said.
Tuberville maintained that Schumer and the Democrats could have easily prevented a backlog of holds but acted out of political interests. “The Democrats are for pro-choice, and they could [not] care less about the military,” he insisted.
“Just goes to show you what we went through. They could have promoted these people a long time ago, but because of the illegal policy that they pushed on the American people… we had a lot of people that did not get promoted.”
But Tuberville said he has no regrets.
“You got to stick with what you believe,” he said with a smile.
Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.