WASHINGTON, DC – Thousands of military members up and down the chain of command have had their careers left in limbo for months as Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) continues to block the merit-based promotions of hundreds of top officers over political objections that have nothing to do with those in uniform, as he seeks to limit the rights of women to seek and access reproductive care.

Over the last nine months, Senator Tuberville has halted over 350 senior military officers from being promoted, receiving pay raises, and taking on new assignments.  His blanket holds have negatively impacted military readiness, leaving critical senior military posts unfilled and forcing some senior officers to work multiple jobs.

Today, the Senate Rules Committee voted 9-7 to advance a temporary standing order resolution (S. Res. 444) sponsored by U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, that would allow for a bipartisan super-majority of 60 or more Senators to override Tuberville’s blanket blockade of military promotions.

This resolution is not a rule change.  Rather, it temporarily establishes a standing order for the remainder of the 118th Congress to provide for the en bloc consideration of military nominations – with the exception of nominees to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and combatant commanders – that have been favorably reported by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Senator Tuberville used a hyper-partisan maneuver to try and weaponize the military promotion process.  Indefinitely blocking all these merit-based military promotions has harmed the national security of the United States.  We’re now using a bipartisan standing order to prevent him from further hampering the U.S. military at a time of global strife.  This resolution offers every member of the Senate a chance to vote to either support or overcome this irresponsible blockade.  I have faith that Senators from both parties care deeply about our service men and women and will do the right thing,” said Reed. 

Now that the Senate Rules Committee advanced the bill, it may be considered by the full U.S. Senate.  However, the Senate must first contend with passing appropriations legislation to prevent a government shutdown.

For generations, confirming military promotions and nominations has been considered a bipartisan responsibility for members of the U.S. Senate.  The merit-based promotion of outstanding U.S. military officers has long been insulated from the partisan pressures of politics. 

Over the last nine months, Senator Tuberville’s blockade has ensnared the promotions of over 350 general and flag officers, representing every military branch.  According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, it would take the Senate nearly 1,000 hours and forgoing all other business in order to process these nominations without routine cooperation and unanimous consent from all one hundred U.S. Senators.

“Senator Tuberville broke precedent to try and impose his partisan views on our servicemembers. Senator Tuberville has been offered a number of off-ramps for his unprecedented abuse of military promotions, and this resolution offers him yet another.  It’s a way to solve the current crisis through the end of next year, but it cannot undo the damage Senator Tuberville has already inflicted on our military, nor should it be seen as a permanent solution.  This resolution is limited in scope and duration.  It automatically expires at the end of this Congress, and we may need to debate this issue at the outset of the next Congress to ensure a sustainable solution.  Hopefully we can build bipartisan consensus that no senator should ever place this type of months-long blanket hold on military promotions for political demands, because the only ones benefitting here are Senator Tuberville and America’s adversaries.”