McConnell opposes Alabama Republican’s blockade of navy nominees over Pentagon abortion coverage
Senate Republican Chief Mitch McConnell says he received’t help a fellow GOP senator’s blockade of navy nominees, backing Democrats and Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin who’ve stated that the holdup is harming nationwide safety
WASHINGTON — Senate Republican Chief Mitch McConnell stated Wednesday that he received’t help a fellow GOP senator’s blockade of navy nominees, backing Democrats and Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin who’ve stated that the holdup is harming nationwide safety.
Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville is objecting to the usually routine apply of confirming dozens of navy nominations, a transfer that might drive the Senate to carry probably lots of of votes to substantiate non-controversial senior navy officers. Tuberville has not backed down from his now-monthslong pledge to carry up the nominees over the Pentagon’s abortion coverage, which supplies journey funds and help for troops and dependents who search abortions however are based mostly in states the place they’re now unlawful.
“No, I don’t help placing a maintain on navy nominations,” McConnell instructed reporters, in response to a query about Tuberville’s blockade. “I don’t help that. However as to why, you’ll must ask Sen. Tuberville.”
McConnell’s feedback don’t have any sensible impact on Tuberville’s holds, as a result of any senator can maintain up any Senate motion. However the GOP chief’s place additional isolates the Alabama Republican as lawmakers and nationwide safety officers have stated that the holdup might have harmful results.
In a letter despatched final week to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warrena Democrat, Austin wrote that he has “deep concern” concerning the delays in confirmations. He stated the Pentagon estimates that roughly 650 officers lined by the maintain – these on the one-star to four-star ranges – would require Senate affirmation between now and the tip of the 12 months.
The delays pose “a transparent danger to U.S. navy readiness, particularly at his essential time,” Austin wrote, including that by no means earlier than has one senator held up so many officers. The glut of vacancies would break down the division’s regular circulate of management and breed uncertainty and confusion, he stated, risking operations in “each theater, each area, and each service.”
At a listening to earlier this 12 months, Austin defended the abortion coverage by saying that tens of 1000’s of girls within the navy dwell and work in places that don’t have common reproductive health care. “This coverage relies on robust authorized floor,” he stated.
A spokesman for Tuberville stated Wednesday that McConnell’s feedback haven’t modified his place. The senator has stated repeatedly that he received’t budge.
“Secretary Austin thought abortion is extra vital than his highest-level navy nominations,” he stated late final month, after Democrats tried to name up the nominations on the Senate ground. “Secretary Austin might finish the coverage right this moment, and I might carry my maintain. Secretary Austin has chosen not to do this.”
Tuberville has argued that Schumer can deliver the nominations to the Senate ground at any time and maintain particular person votes. However every nomination would require a minimum of two votes and days of Senate time, and Democrats have argued that it might set a harmful precedent to carry partisan votes on routine navy nominations which have historically been unanimously accredited by voice vote.
Schumer stated on the Senate ground Wednesday that Republicans are prepared to jeopardize U.S. “standing overseas, the livelihood of service members, and our navy readiness” over the problem of abortion entry.
“Our nationwide safety is just not a bargaining chip for radical right-wing insurance policies,” Schumer stated.
Related Press author Lolita Baldor contributed to this report.
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