It confirmed 425 military nominees after Sen. Tommy Tuberville dropped his hold

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed more than 400 military nominees Tuesday afternoon, with Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., ending a month-long campaign and announcing he would drop most of his holdouts.

Tuberville told reporters earlier Tuesday that he had removed his hold on all Army promotions above 425 ranks of three-star grade and below.

“I’m releasing them all. I’m still holding 11 four-star generals. Everyone else is completely released from me,” Tuberville told reporters. “But other than that, it’s over.”

Hours later, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DNY, took to the Senate floor to unanimously confirm all 425 nominees, saying military members and their families can “breathe a sigh of relief.”

He then took aim at Tuberville for his 10-month hold, saying he posed a risk to national security through the “senseless and deeply damaging raid” on military families. Schumer warned other senators against pursuing a similar tactic in the future.

“Let this incident be a warning,” Schumer said, “that no one — no one — should try this again in the Senate. The veteran senator from Alabama has nothing to show for his 10-month delay.

“Confirmations are long overdue and should never be put off,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Tuesday.

“Ultimately, it’s senseless,” Biden said, adding that “Tuberville and the Republicans who stood with him needlessly injured hundreds of veterans and military families and threatened our national security — all to push a partisan agenda. I hope. No one forgets what he did.”

Sen. in Washington in March 2022. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.Maryam Juhaib / AP File

Tuberville was suspending military referrals in protest of a Defense Department policy that allows service members to be reimbursed for travel expenses related to abortions. The policy is still in place.

Schumer said the Senate “will work to confirm the remaining nominees” who block Tuberville “soon.” It’s unclear whether the Senate will act on them one by one in the coming weeks or if Democrats will move to do them as a group.

As pressure mounted from members of both parties, Tuberville signaled last week that he might relinquish some of his hold “very soon.” He did not specify at the time how many promotions he would offer, but said he wanted to get as many as possible “in the next week” and would not make decisions based on “levels” of rankings.

“I know these people who, you know, need a promotion,” he said last week.

Earlier Tuesday, Tuberville announced a news conference about the holds at 1:40 p.m. ET, then canceled it citing an excuse.

Tuberville has been blocked for months by some military advisers, including top officials commanding U.S. forces in the Middle East. Since Hamas launched an attack on Israel on October 7, the Pentagon has moved aircraft and military carriers to the region to aid and support Israel.

Tuberville drew criticism from members of his own party. A group of Republican senators tried several times on the Senate floor to confirm military nominees, but each time, Tuberville blocked them. Schumer thanked the group in his remarks Tuesday afternoon.

GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley also condemned Tuberville’s effort, saying in August that her blockade would harm service members and military readiness.

Top military leaders, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, have warned for months about the consequences of the Tuberville hold, including the potential loss of talent.

Last week, Schumer said she would bring a Democratic resolution to override Tuberville’s control, but it’s unclear if she has the votes to pass it.

With frustrations with Tuberville building within his own party, Senate Republicans last week began expressing hope that members would reach a resolution on his impeachment before heading into the new year.

“I had a lot of conversations over the weekend on this subject, and I think I’m optimistic,” Sen. John Thune, RS.D., told reporters Tuesday morning. “Today, we’re optimistic. Going – keep your fingers crossed, we’ll see, hopefully we’ll have a breakthrough, but time will tell.

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