House Republicans Praise Sen. Tuberville for ‘Fighting the Good Fight’ to Protect Unborn

The Alabama senator has reportedly signaled to GOP colleagues that his holds on military nominations will be lifted soon.
House Republicans Praise Sen. Tuberville for ‘Fighting the Good Fight’ to Protect Unborn
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) arrives for a briefing on Ukraine at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 20, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Samantha Flom
12/1/2023
Updated:
12/1/2023
0:00

Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) continuing blockade on military promotions may have drawn the ire of other Senate Republicans, but it’s also earned him the praise of 20 of their House counterparts.

“We write to express our deep gratitude and support for your courageous leadership in the fight to preserve and protect the precious lives of unborn children and their mothers,” the Republican lawmakers wrote in a Nov. 30 letter to the senator.

“Your holds on Department of Defense nominations have brought needed scrutiny to President Biden’s unprecedented and misguided policy to support the abortion industry by paying the transportation costs for military service members and their dependents to travel to obtain elective abortions.”

The policy, first signaled in an October 2022 Defense Department memorandum, has been heavily criticized by Republicans and more than 5,000 veterans as an illegal use of taxpayer dollars.
Since the mid-1980s, federal law has prohibited Defense Department funds from being used to perform abortions—except for situations involving rape, incest, or a life-threatening health risk to the mother.

Upon the Biden administration’s February announcement that the new policy would soon take effect, Mr. Tuberville began blocking the use of unanimous consent to rush the confirmation of Defense Department nominees. And despite increasingly bipartisan criticism, he has persevered in that effort.

Expressing solidarity with the senator in his mission, the congressmen wrote, “Thank you for fighting the good fight with valor and unwavering dedication to protecting unborn children, the military women who serve our great Nation, and the laws that reinforce the strength and readiness of our armed forces.”

End of the Road

While Mr. Tuberville’s tactics have made him the target of Democratic criticism all year, in recent weeks, several Republican senators have joined in calls for him to end his protest.

Among them was Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska, a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, who on Nov. 1 joined Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Todd Young of Indiana, and others in rebuking the Alabama senator.

“Why are we putting holds on war heroes?” Mr. Sullivan asked from the Senate floor. “I don’t understand.”

Mr. Tuberville, for his part, has frequently pointed out that his holds do not prevent the Senate from confirming the nominees but simply draw out the process.

Even so, earlier this week, he reportedly told his frustrated colleagues that he intends to end the standoff soon—a move that likely spurred the letter of support from the House.

“Listen, everyone. I got y’all into this mess. I’m going to get you out,” he said during a closed-door lunch, according to Punchbowl News.

The shift in position comes amid the Senate Rules Committee’s approval of a resolution allowing the Senate to confirm hundreds of delayed military promotions and nominations at once.

On Nov. 27, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowed to bring the workaround to the floor “in the coming weeks.”
“Before the end of the year, the Senate must put a stop to a grave abuse carried out by the Senior Senator from Alabama: the brazen, months and months-long blockade of over 350 military nominees,” he said on the Senate floor.

“I hope my Republican colleagues who care about military preparedness end up supporting this resolution, or at least getting Senator Tuberville to back down.”

Stephen Katte and The Associated Press contributed to this report.