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GOP Senator Tuberville drops most holds on stalled military promotions

By Jake Beardslee · December 5, 2023

In brief…

  • Senator Tuberville held up military promotions for nearly a year over policy objections
  • On Tuesday he released most holds, except for a dozen 4-star nominations
  • Tuberville faced bipartisan criticism
After holding up over 450 military promotions for almost a year despite criticism, GOP Senator Tommy Tuberville released the bulk of his holds on Tuesday.  TSgt. Jack Sanders, U.S. Air Force/Wikimedia

Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama announced Tuesday that he is releasing the majority of his holds on military promotion confirmations, after facing mounting bipartisan pressure over the stalled nominations.

For nearly a year, Senator Tuberville had placed a blanket hold on hundreds of military promotions to protest a Defense Department policy on reproductive health services. His hold prevented the Senate from confirming over 450 top military officer nominations.

But on Tuesday, Senator Tuberville told his colleagues during a closed-door Capitol Hill meeting that he will release holds for “three-star nominees and below.” This represents the vast majority of affected nominees.

“We saw some success. We didn’t get as much out of it as we wanted,” Senator Tuberville commented about his decision. “The only opportunity you got to get people on the left up here to listen to you in the minority is to put a hold on something. I think we opened their eyes a little bit. We didn’t get the win that we wanted. We still got a bad policy.”

The Alabama senator said he will maintain holds on fewer than a dozen four-star nominations. He indicated his decision was influenced by pressure for Republican unity in opposing proposed Senate rule changes that would have enabled the Democratic majority to bypass holds by confirming military nominations en bloc.

When asked what message he had for military families impacted by his confirmation delays, Senator Tuberville replied, “Thank you for your service.”

Senator Tuberville’s holds have drawn criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.