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Tommy Tuberville Is About To Get Rolled By GOP Colleagues Over Military Promotions Standoff

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Sen. Tommy Tuberville.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). (Photo: Imgur)

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) is facing mounting pressure from fellow GOP members to end the months-long standoff over hundreds of military promotions. Tuberville, who implemented the holds to protest the Pentagon’s post-Roe policy on abortion services for service members, hinted at a possible compromise during a Senate lunch on Tuesday. However, details remain unclear, and Tuberville has yet to provide specifics, stating, “I don’t know yet.”

Republican patience with Tuberville has waned over the nine-month impasse, reaching a peak before the Thanksgiving break when GOP senators, including military veterans, attempted twice to advance individual nominees via unanimous consent, only to be thwarted by Tuberville.

Initially, Tuberville and his supporters sought action on the National Defense Authorization Act, but with no conference to reconcile House and Senate versions, that avenue is no longer available. Despite hopes that a lawsuit might offer a resolution, Tuberville dismissed this possibility.

The situation leaves Tuberville and Senate Republicans in a challenging position, susceptible to a Democratic-led standing resolution that would allow the chamber to collectively approve most nominations. While Republicans view this resolution as a last resort, some, like Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), express openness to supporting it if a solution isn’t reached by the new year.

A potential vote on the standing resolution poses dilemmas for both Tuberville and his GOP colleagues. For Tuberville, it would mark a significant setback in the battle initiated in February. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans face the difficult choice of aligning with either anti-abortion advocates or the military, crucial constituencies for the party. Additionally, senators on both sides of the aisle are wary of compromising an individual member’s ability to implement a hold—one of the few powers senators possess—leading to concerns about temporarily altering the chamber’s rules.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) proposed an idea to Tuberville, suggesting a release of holds on promotions for those at the three-star level and below while maintaining them for four-star generals. Tuberville’s response to this proposal remains uncertain.

As frustration mounts among senators, Tuberville is reportedly considering dropping some holds, though details are yet to be disclosed. Meetings with members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, including Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), are underway to discuss possible resolutions. Another suggestion involves shifting Tuberville’s hold to civilians overseeing the abortion rule.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has not specified a timetable for bringing the resolution to the floor but mentioned doing so “in the coming weeks.” With Republicans growing increasingly impatient, Tuberville faces escalating pressure to resolve the deadlock.

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