Tag: tommy tuberville
Tommy Tuberville

'Patience Is Wearing Thinner': Bipartisan Senate Veterans Warn Tuberville (VIDEO)

A handful of Republicans kept the Senate in session into the early hours of Thursday morning, making sure Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) started his long Thanksgiving break on a sour note. The Alabama Republican is under increasing pressure from all sides to end his tantrum and lift his blanket hold on more than 400 officer promotions.

The same group of senators, all veterans, who confronted Tuberville last month faced him down again Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. “I made a commitment to the men and women in uniform that I would continue to try to move them. I keep my commitments,” Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican, told Politico.. Since February, Tuberville has been protesting the Pentagon’s policy of providing paid leave for service members who are forced to travel out of state to obtain an abortion. None of the officers he is preventing from advancing had anything to do with formulating or implementing that policy, which apparently makes no difference to Tuberville. "Why punish people who have seriously sacrificed for America—more than probably anyone else here on the floor certainly—over a policy they had nothing to do with?" Sullivan asked on the floor.

This happened against the backdrop of the resolution passed by the Senate Rules Committee this week to create a temporary bypass of Tuberville for the remainder of this congressional term. Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told the Senate—and Tuberville—that the resolution will come to the floor if Republicans fail in their efforts to stop the blockade. The warning came with an unusually sharp and personal rebuke from Schumer.

“[T]here's been a lot of negativity and dysfunction in the Senate these days, but Sen. Tuberville has single-handedly brought the Senate to a new low,” Schumer said. “He should be ashamed of himself. Patience is wearing thinner and thinner with Sen. Tuberville, on both sides of the aisle.”

“We still hold out some small hope that in the next little, short while, our Republican colleagues can persuade Tuberville to back off, but if it does not happen, we intend to move this resolution to the floor of the Senate,” Schumer concluded.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina added some weight—and a deadline—to that threat. "I promise you this—this will be the last holiday this happens. If it takes me to vote to break loose these folks, I will," Graham said. That’s the same Lindsey Graham who once threatened to “use all the tools in the toolbox to stop” Democrats from changing rules to stop GOP obstruction.

That’s just how frustrated and angry Tuberville’s colleagues are—other than Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), that is. He spent about as much time as he could on the floor pontificating with “lengthy filibusters” in support of Tuberville’s right to shut the Senate down with his obnoxious crusade.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Mitch McConnell

GOP Senators Squabbling Over McConnell's Latest 'Freeze-Up' (VIDEO)

Whatever Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would have you believe about his recovery following a concussion, Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama ain't buying it.

“The last freeze-up, it puts a question in everybody’s mind whether he can do it or not,” Tuberville told The Wall Street Journal regarding McConnell's latest freezing episode, adding that “if he freezes up again, he obviously knows that everybody else is going to have to get involved in this.”

McConnell, who has had two such episodes during press conferences in the past month, reportedly plans to address the topic of his health with Senate colleagues at a Republican conference meeting on Wednesday.

But the caucus is already breaking into factions, pitting pro-McConnell establishment types against McConnell detractors mostly aligned with former President Donald Trump.

“[W]e're gonna know more after lunch,” Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming told Politico's Burgess Everett, adding that McConnell "has my full support.”

Tuberville, who has been at odds with McConnell over his radical blockade of military promotions, has been particularly outspoken.

On Tuesday evening, Tuberville told CNN's Manu Raju that, as a college football coach, he's seen players "really struggle" for a long period after suffering concussions on the field. McConnell's recent freeze-ups are likely related to a concussion he suffered in the spring after falling at a private event.

"That’s the reason you don’t play them after that," Tuberville explained, referring to concussed players. "They don’t go back in the game until you’re completely well. And … obviously, he’s not completely well."

Tuberville is joined by populist pro-Trumpers like Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and even McConnell's fellow senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, who suggested McConnell should "be more forthcoming" about the health challenges he's facing.

“I don’t think it’s been particularly helpful to have the Senate doctor describe it as dehydration," said Paul, an ophthalmologist, referring to the Capitol attending physician's initial explanation of McConnell's freezing episodes. “What’s occurring from what I’ve seen, it’s a neurological event.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s incapacitating, doesn’t mean he can’t serve,” Paul told Capitol Hill reporters. “But it means that somebody ought to wake up and say, ‘Wow, this looks like a seizure.’”

On Tuesday, McConnell's office released another note from Capitol physician Dr. Brian Monahan, who suggested the GOP leader was not experiencing seizures.

“There is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you experienced a stroke, TIA, or movement disorder such as Parkinson's disease," Monahan wrote, using the acronym for transient ischemic attack, which is a stroke lasting several minutes.

Hawley used the swirling questions about McConnell, 81, to take a whack at President Joe Biden, who's 80 but hasn't exhibited any neurologic episodes.

"I’m concerned about his health, just like I’m concerned about the president’s health,” Hawley told Politico, acknowledging that he hadn't voted for McConnell as leader. "So my views on this are kind of well-known."

Following the 2022 midterms, McConnell handily crushed a leadership challenge mounted by Sen. Rick Scott of Florida. Still, Scott's effort represented the first challenge to McConnell's grip on the Senate Republican conference since he first assumed the leadership role in 2007.

In short, some of McConnell's troops are restless and he's in a more precarious position than at any point in his 16-year leadership of the caucus. But the establishment types seem very wary of wading into a leadership battle amid an already politically fraught landscape for the Republican Party.

As Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told ABC News, he still "firmly" backs McConnell, even with the occasional freezing episode.

"We may expect that Mitch McConnell will check out for 20 seconds a day. But the other 86,380 seconds in the day, he does a pretty darn good job," Romney said. "I'm firmly behind his remaining as our leader."

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Kyrsten Sinema

Pentagon Rejects Sinema Proposal To 'Negotiate' With Tuberville Over Abortion

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) wants President Joe Biden and Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) to negotiate a "middle ground" to settle ex-college football "Coach" Tuberville's one-man blockade on military appointments, stemming from his personal opposition to the Pentagon's healthcare policies on abortion, NBC News correspondents Allan Smith and Sahil Kapur exclusively report.

NBC obtained a recording of Sinema telling the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce last week that "she has 'offered' to help both sides come to a consensus," Smith and Kapur explain.

"I know that Coach does not want to undermine the readiness of our United States military. And I know that the United States military and the administration does not want to undermine the authority and the right of any United States senator. What we need are for folks to step off a little bit from their positions and find that middle ground to solve the challenge that we're facing," Sinema reportedly said, adding that "I've volunteered to help do that" and that "we'll see if they take me up on the offer."

Smith and Kapur recall that "Tuberville has blocked promotions for more than 250 high-ranking military officers" and that despite Sinema's "long record of voting in favor of reproductive rights as a senator," she "didn't specifically discuss abortion or detail what shifts she wants to see from the Pentagon or Tuberville," with whom she "disagrees" while nonetheless maintains "respect" for Tuberville's flex.

"What we're in is a position of pain — we're in a pinch point right now," Sinema said, per NBC. "Coach wants something the military and the administration is not willing to give him. But it would be a mistake to take away that tool from a United States senator because it is an important tool to address unmet needs."

Sinema added that "what I'm encouraging both Coach and the administration to do is to be flexible in finding a solution," insisting that "there is always a solution to be had. It may not be everything the Coach wants. And it may not be everything that the United States military or the administration wants. But there is a solution to be found. And so what I have offered to both Coach and to the administration is to help in any way that I can to help find that solution, because it does exist. It always exists."

Meanwhile, Department of Defense spokesperson Sabrina Singh declared that the Pentagon is not going to acquiesce to Tuberville's demands.

"No, we're not going to change our policy on ensuring that every single service member has equitable access to reproductive healthcare," Singh told reporters on Tuesday. "If you are a service member stationed in a state that has rolled back or restricted healthcare access, you are often stationed there because you were assigned there. It is not that you chose to go there. And so a service member in Alabama deserves to have the same access to healthcare as a service member in California, as a service member stationed in Korea."

Singh continued, "And so that's what that policy does. It's not an abortion policy. We have a travel policy that allows for our service members to take advantage of healthcare that should be accessible to them."

Sahil and Smith further note that "a person close to the Alabama senator said he 'has not spoken to Sinema' about the matter."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Tommy Tuberville

Retired Marine General Says Tuberville 'Is A Coward'

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) continues to catch heat from lawmakers, prominent veterans and even President Joe Biden for his persistence in blocking military promotions over his disagreement with a healthcare policy that could help with abortion-related expenses.

According to a July 28 Rolling Stone report, the Republican senator was called a "coward" by retired two-star Marine Corps Major General Arnold Punaro during a recent Politico interview.

The ex-Armed Services Committee director said, "I have a huge problem with what Sen. Tuberville is doing. He's a coward, in my book. He won't even bring an amendment to the floor and get it voted on to change the [abortion] policy. It is having an impact. And unfortunately, the only way you can ever prove it to somebody like Sen. Tuberville — who's never served […] you're not going to really be able to prove it to anybody until young Marines and young soldiers die in combat because they're not as well led."

Rolling Stone notes the Marines are without "a commanding officer for the first time in over 150 years because of Tuberville's blockade, which Punaro described as a 'pathetic' push to prioritize fundraising over national security."

Punaro's staunch criticism of the senator comes after United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently urged Tuberville "to end his blockade of military appointments because he disagrees with the military's policy of providing servicemembers with medical packages that include assistance for abortion-related expenses."

The GOP leader was also recently lambasted by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), who said service members "have sacrificed their entire adult lives. They have sacrificed time with their family. They have sacrificed everything for this country, and now they've been promoted and the senator —or they've been put on a list to be promoted — and the Senator for Alabama has put a hold on them, which has never happened before in the history of the United States."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.