Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a member of the Armed Services Committee, on Sunday condemned Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s blocking of hundreds of military nominations as a political move that will jeopardize the «ability to lead the free world» of USA. «
Tuberville, R-Ala., also a member of the Armed Services Committee, has blocked hundreds of military appointments, citing his objection to a Defense Department policy that provides paid time off and reimburses travel costs for service members and dependents. who seek abortions. President Joe Biden recently denounced the blockade as a «totally irresponsible move.»
“I’ll just say what President Biden said: It’s strange that Senator Tuberville says he’s not endangering national security when he injects politics into the defense process,” Duckworth said in an interview on “Meet the Press.”
«And frankly, this is not the time to do it,» he said. «For him to really jeopardize our national security by injecting politics and preventing our military leaders from being able to take their positions and do their jobs is really, you know, it’s beyond harrowing.»
Duckworth added: «Right now, Senator Tuberville is jeopardizing our nation’s ability to lead the free world at a time when there is a war in Europe because he wants to inject politics into this.»
Biden said he would be willing to talk to Tuberville if he thinks «there’s any chance he’ll change his ridiculous position.» The president also urged Republicans to «stand up and do something about it.»
In a memo first obtained to «Interested Parties» by NBC News last week, the White House increased pressure on the Republican Party, describing the party as facilitating the Tuberville effort and accusing it of mounting «barely a word of protest «.
“Right now, a Republican senator is choosing to erode military readiness and abuse military families in pursuit of an extreme and unrelated anti-liberty agenda, with hardly a sound from his fellow Republicans,” the communications adviser wrote in the memo. of the White House, Andrew Bates. .
The lockdown is “exploiting service members as pawns,” hurting military readiness, and risking a “brain drain” from the Department of Defense,” it added. “It is even subjecting families serving with members to excruciating uncertainty, such as not knowing where the children will go to school or where the spouses may work.”
Tuberville has remained unmoved by the Democrats’ pushback, telling NBC News he won’t back down until the Pentagon promises to rescind its policy of covering travel costs for service members who leave their states for abortions.
“If he had been president, he would have called me a long time ago,” Tuberville said. “I understand that we have many problems in this country. We have a lot of problems abroad, and he has… that’s hard work. I can’t imagine doing that. So, you know, he got really excited about me and foreign soil. I wish he hadn’t done that.»
Even some congressional Republicans have opposed the Tuberville blockade, despite agreeing with his opposition to Defense Department policy on abortion access.
Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican member of the Armed Services Committee, defended his Republican colleague on «Meet the Press» Sunday.
“Every senator has the right to suspend nominees on an issue of political importance,” he said. “I have certainly done it myself. I’m here in Alaska right now. I had a couple of years ago on the Secretary of the Army, the Army Chief of Staff to change position when they were going to take out a brigade combat team – the Alaska Airborne Brigade Combat Team.”
Sullivan expressed his belief that the deadlock on military nominations must be resolved through compromise.
“Each of these types of hold, 99% of them are resolved through a compromise,” he said. «And what should happen, the secretary of defense, Senator Tuberville, [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer, I need to sit down and have that.»