Former Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney believes Alabama Republican U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville is risking national security by continuing his hold on high-level military promotions because of his opposition to an abortion policy.
Cheney tweeted Monday that Tuberville “is doing significant damage to American military readiness and national security.”
“His hold on DOD nominees is directly aiding America’s enemies, and raising serious questions about whose side the Senator is on,” Cheney said. “Senate leaders need to end this now.”
In December 2022, Tuberville pledged to block all senior Department of Defense nominations over a Pentagon policy that covers the travel costs of service members for seeking out-of-state abortions in states where they are based that have banned the procedure.
This rule would not affect military members in Wyoming as abortion is still fully legal in the Cowboy State. Two laws banning the procedure have been temporarily blocked in court.
Retired Col. Tucker Fagan, former wing commander at FE Warren Air Force Base, told Cowboy State Daily an agreement could be reached if the government found a private organization to start paying for the abortion costs.
He believes the two sides are fixated on “not giving an inch” rather than finding a solution.
“Can you fix that where you both come out winners?” he questioned. “That’s one way to fix the problem.”
Hundreds Of Nominations
Cheney has consistently issued a pro-life stance on the topic of abortion.
Her tweet on Monday came in response to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who that day called the situation "unprecedented,” adding that "more than 300 nominations for our outstanding general and flag officers are now being held up in the United States Senate.”
This includes the nominations for the leaders of the Army, Marine Corps and Navy. Another vacancy may be created when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley retires in September.
“This is unprecedented, it is unnecessary and it is unsafe,” Austin said.
Austin said smooth leadership transitions are key for the military and that Tuberville’s hold is undermining national security and the country’s ability to retain top officers.
“Our troops deserve better, our military families deserve better,” he said.
Tuberville’s office told ABC News that no jobs are being left unfilled by the hold, "instead, highly experienced acting officials are serving in these roles."
Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has the ability to force a vote on any nominee, it is highly unrealistic this could happen for each of the hundreds of other officers awaiting promotion in the military. The promotion of these officers is typically approved through a consensus vote.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.