Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the 160 military promotions being held up by the Senior Senator from Alabama in an effort to block women within the military from making their own healthcare decisions. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Defense readiness is impossible without military commanders in place to execute our national defense strategy. Senators have regularly worked together to confirm routine military nominees quickly, ensuring no lapses in the work of our military.
But right now, 160 military promotions—160—these are not political, these are men and women who have worked their way up through the ranks and deserve promotion to general, to colonel, etcetera. But 160—including five three-star generals—are on hold because the senior Senator from Alabama is holding them up because he can’t get his way on blocking 160,000 women within the military from receiving health care. Blocking military choices is unprecedented—unprecedented. It hasn’t happened before and it could weaken our national security. And the number of those who are blocked is going to grow even larger as new nominees are reported out of committee which they do regularly.
Among the general and flag officers on hold by the Senator from Alabama include commanders for U.S. Naval Forces in the Pacific, the Middle East, and the U.S. military representative to the NATO Military Committee—something really important at a time when war rages in Ukraine. The commanders of the 5th and 7th Fleet are the commanders of U.S. Naval Forces confronting the likes of Iran and China. They are being held up single-handedly by the Senator from Alabama.
It shouldn’t have to be said, but the Senator from Alabama’s hold of hundreds of routine military promotions is reckless, it damages the readiness of our military, and puts American security in jeopardy.
Now look, all of us feel very strongly—passionately—at times about certain political issues, certainly as strongly as the Senator of Alabama feels about this one. But if every single one of us objected to the promotion of military personnel whenever we feel passionately or strongly about an issue, our military would simply grind to a halt.
The Senator from Alabama’s actions risk permanently politicizing the confirmation of military personnel for the first time ever, and that would cause immense damage to the military’s ability to lead and protect us.
I can’t think of a worse time for a MAGA Republican to pull a stunt like this, as threats against American security and against democracy are growing all around the world. I urge members of his own party to prevail on the Senator from Alabama to stand down in this unprecedented and dangerous move and allow these critical, nonpolitical, nonpartisan military nominees to go through.