HomeWorldSenate set to confirm top military officer despite months-long Tuberville hold
Senate set to confirm top military officer despite months-long Tuberville hold
September 20, 2023
WASHINGTON – With under two weeks to go until the United States would be left without a full-fledged chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) worked around longtime holdout Sen. Tommy Tuberville by sending the confirmation vote on America’s next top military officer to the Senate floor.
The Senate voted 89-8 Wednesday afternoon to end debate on the nomination of Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown.
The actual confirmation vote was set for later in the evening – setting Brown up to be sworn in just in time for Army Gen. Mark Milley’s retirement from the leadership of the Joint Chiefs.
“We cannot allow Senator Tuberville to decide which of our brave service members get promoted and which languish. Democrats are taking action,” Schumer said.
“Today, I filed cloture on the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Army chief of staff.”
Since March, Tuberville (R-Ala.) has refused to allow speedy votes on the nominations of more than 300 senior military officers for critical positions until the Pentagon changes a post-Roe v. Wade policy covering out-of-state travel for troops to receive reproductive procedures, such as abortions and in-vitro fertilization.
As a result, the Army, Marine Corps, and Navy are currently without a Senate-confirmed representative on the Joint Staff. The Air Force could be next once Brown is confirmed as chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Following the vote on Brown, the Senate is due next to take up the nomination of Gen. Randy A. George to become the next Army chief of staff.
A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which can approve military nominations swiftly and in bulk, Tuberville has the power to block such rapid confirmations because the committee must be unanimous on such decisions.
On Wednesday, Tuberville applauded Schumer for starting the time-consuming process of confirming appointees through regular order.
“I’ve called for individual votes on these nominees for almost six months,” he said. “Instead of voting, Democrats have spent months complaining about having to vote. They want us to use floor time for things like [confirming] liberal judges.”
But while Brown, George and Marine Corps Commandant nominee Gen. Eric M. Smith are expected to be confirmed within the next several hours, Tuberville’s hold will continue to block the promotions of 316 other military officers nominated for key positions, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Wednesday.
“While [the Senate vote] is good for those three officers – it’s certainly good for two of the branches of the armed services and the Joint Staff … it doesn’t fix the problem or provide a path forward for the 316 other general and flag officers that are held up by this ridiculous hold,” he said.
Should Tuberville force the Senate to take up each outstanding nomination through regular order, it would take roughly 700 hours — nearly a full month of working straight through, Kirby said.
“That’s not only unrealistic, it’s dangerous for our national security,” he said.
“So again, both of these are potentially moving forward is good for the United States Marines, certainly good for the United States Army and good for the Joint Staff – but it ain’t good enough for US national security.”