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September 21, 2023

Schumer files motion to break Tuberville's hold on 3 select military nominations

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., filed a motion Wednesday that would end an Alabama senator's deliberate hold on three of President Joe Biden's nominations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., has vowed to block Biden's nominees over military regulations that allow women in the service to travel from states that don't allow abortion to states that do so that they can have access to the care they need.

As a result of Tuberville's blockade on nominations, two out of eight Joint Chiefs of Staff positions have been filled by interim officers for the first time in history.

Schumer said "the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the senior senator from Alabama."

Schumer said the move was "not a path the vast majority of senators on either side of the aisle want to go down but Sen. Tuberville is forcing us to confront his obstruction head on."

The U.S. Army is now without a Senate-confirmed uniformed general leading the service, and the U.S. Marines are without a Senate-confirmed uniformed general leading the service for the first time in more than a century.

The three nominees that Schumer hopes to bring a vote on are Gen. Randy George, who is nominated to be chief of staff of the Army; Eric Smith, who would be in charge of the Marines; and C.Q. Brown, who is nominated as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III said the blockade was having a negative effect on the military's ability to maintain military readiness.

"The failure to confirm our superbly qualified senior uniformed leaders undermines our military readiness," Austin said in August.

The motion, known as cloture, would end debate on the nominees and could force a same-day vote.

Tuberville responded to Schemer's move by saying he would not oppose a same day vote but emphasized that he would want the votes to apply to each nominee individually as opposed to all three at once.

"As long as we go through cloture, as long as we do them individually, not as a group, I'm good with it," Tuberville said.

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