Fox reporter suggests military aid to Israel could be affected by GOP senator’s campaign to block promotions

Alabama senator Tommy Tuberville has placed holds on over 300 nominations, blocking the Pentagon’s routine approval process

Mike Bedigan
Los Angeles
Monday 09 October 2023 14:21 EDT
Fox reporter suggests US military aid to Israel could be affected by GOP senator's campaign to block promotions

US military assistance to Israel could be affected by a Republican senator’s ongoing campaign to block hundreds of nominations and promotions for military officers, a Fox News reporter has suggested.

Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville has placed holds on over 300 nominations, blocking the Pentagon’s routine approval process, in response to the agency’s abortion policy.

Among the organisations affected is the US Navy, with a new Chief of Naval Operations still unconfirmed due to Mr Tuberville’s objections. Admiral Lisa Franchetti – who is expected to be confirmed – is among those held up by his stonewalling. In the aftermath of the Hamas attack on Israel, in which more than 700 people are believed to have died, the senator has said he will not drop his campaign.

Speaking on Fox News at the weekend, the station’s national security correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, said that she would expect some of the $2b of US weaponry caches held in Israel to be released to help replenish Israeli stockpiles, but that the US Senator’s action continued to impact military operations, including those of the navy.

“The US military still does not have a confirmed head of the US Navy,” Griffin said.

"Admiral Lisa Franchetti is awaiting confirmation. She is part of the 300 plus officers that are being held up by Senator Tuberville’s hold.”

Griffin said Mr Tuberville was “upset” about a Pentagon policy that allows US service members to travel to out of states where abortion is prohibited to receive medical care and abortions, if needed, in other states.

Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville

Lower-ranking promotions and nominations are always approved in large groups by unanimous consent, meaning no objections from senators. Mr Tuberville has upended the normally routine process and says he will continue to object until the abortion policy is reversed.

His objections have forced Democrats to bring the nominations up one by one — a process that could take months and delay other priorities.

Griffin continued: “He is still holding up 300 military officers.

“Without a head of the US Navy when in fact the Mediterranean Sea and the Fifth Fleet and… the Seventh Fleet, which Lisa Franchetti the admiral used to be the head of – It really does diminish the ability of the navy to operate.”

Mr Tuberville’s blockade has frustrated members of both parties, and it is still unclear how the larger standoff will be resolved.

Meanwhile, the senator himself has said he has no intention of relenting.

“The Pentagon clearly thinks forcing taxpayers to facilitate abortion is more important than confirming their top nominees without a vote,” Mr Tuberville’s spokesperson Steve Stafford said in a statement to NBC News.

“They could end this situation TODAY by dropping their illegal and immoral policy and get everyone confirmed rapidly, but they refuse,” he added. “If the Biden administration wants their nominees confirmed then Senate Democrats can do what Coach just did in September and file a cloture petition to force a vote.”

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