Military Spouses Deliver Petition Calling for End to Tuberville Blockade on Senior Officer Promotions
2023/07/26

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The impasse over confirming military promotions has led to increased stress for military families, according to military spouses who are calling on senators to find a solution. The advocacy group Secure Families Initiative organized the spouses, who delivered a petition with over 550 signatures to Senate leaders and Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. Tuberville has utilized a procedural tactic called a hold to block confirmations of general and flag officers due to his opposition to the Pentagon's policy on abortion-related expenses. This tactic requires individual roll call votes on each nominee, significantly delaying the confirmation process.

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With more than 250 nominees currently affected and an estimated 650 expected to be impacted by the end of the year, the delays have started to create vacancies on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Pressure has been mounting on Tuberville from Pentagon officials and Democrats to relent on his hold. Eight Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, urging him to take stronger action to resolve the situation.

Tuberville has stated that he will only drop his hold if the Pentagon reverses its abortion policy or if Congress enshrines the leave and travel policy in law, neither of which is likely to happen.

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He has received support from veterans, GOP House members, and conservative advocacy groups for opposing what they consider a "left-wing social agenda."

The military spouse petition, delivered to McConnell, Tuberville, and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, calls on Senate leadership to address Tuberville's grandstanding and find a resolution outside the military space. The spouses believe that Tuberville's hold has caused direct harm to service members, confusion, and frustration within the military community. They argue that the political grandstanding threatens national security and creates uncertainty for military families.

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The impact of the promotions delay extends beyond the professional lives of service members. It affects family dynamics, education choices, and career decisions. Military spouses are discussing the implications among themselves, supporting one another, and seeking ways to advocate for their concerns.

Despite Tuberville's stated conditions for lifting his hold, the military spouses are hopeful that their direct communication with Senate leaders and sharing their experiences will help resolve the standoff. They had a positive conversation with McConnell's staff and also spoke with a military aide in Tuberville's office.

Tuberville's spokesperson expressed gratitude for the service of military personnel and emphasized that Tuberville is working to remove politics from the military using the tools available to him as a senator, including his hold.

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