FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., has no plans to concede his protest against the Department of Defense (DOD) funding some costs for abortion procedures for military service members, even as Senate Democrats plan to advance a proposal to change the rules this week.
Democrats, some Republicans and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., plan to maneuver around Tuberville’s hold on military promotions by introducing a change in the Senate Rules Committee that would allow them to approve a batch of nominees through 2024.
Tuberville said the ‘only power’ senators have is ‘through holes’ by trying to change the procedures. It would take nine Republicans to vote with Senate Democrats for a resolution bypassing the holds to pass. It would first go through the rules committee.
‘I’m trying to keep the White House from playing dictator along with the Pentagon,’ Tuberville told Fox News Digital. ‘Abortion is the No. 1 issue in our country in our lifetime when it comes to social issues, and the American people need to have a say so now.’
The DOD’s abortion policy was implemented after the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year.
Hundreds of promotion nominees remain in limbo as Tuberville’s nearly nine-months-long hold continues in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion policy, which allots paid leave and travel costs for service members who seek an abortion. He confirmed that he has no plans to lift the blockade unless it’s punted in a floor vote.
‘And then whichever way it goes, you know, that’s life, but that’s the only way that I will drop my hold,’ he said. ‘They’re not going to press me any other way.’
After talking to several generals and leaders in the military, there’s no issue with ‘military readiness’ as some might suggest, Tuberville added.
‘I know there’s some people [who] probably need promotions, and it means a little bit more money,’ he said. ‘But at the end of the day, I’ve talked to a lot of generals and admirals, and they’ve all said, ‘Listen, the job is getting done.’’
Despite efforts to overturn the current hold, Tuberville, a retired college football coach, said he doesn’t think a rule change will happen. It would need 60 votes to pass. Republicans currently hold 49 seats in the Senate while Democrats hold the majority at 51.
‘I think that we’ll be able to hold her in the line and force them to eventually vote on this,’ he said.
‘We’re not the House,’ he added. ‘The House is a simple majority. Over here, you’ve got to get 60 votes. That means you got to have people from the other side convinced that this is what you need to do. That’s the reason we’re different.’