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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On New Bipartisan Letter From Former Secretaries Of Defense Urging An End To The Reckless Blanket Hold On Military Promotions By Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville

Washington, D.C.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor following the receipt of a new letter signed by former Secretaries of Defense who served under presidents of both parties on the harmful impact caused by a blanket hold on military promotions. You can read the letter here. Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) currently has a blanket hold on these military promotions. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Leader McConnell and I received a letter from seven former Secretaries of Defense, Democrat and Republican alike, they served under Democratic and Republican Presidents, including Donald Trump, regarding the blanket holds by the Senator from Alabama on the nominations of senior military leaders.

The letter signed by Secretaries Gates, Cohen, Panetta, Hagel, Mattis, Esper, and Perry—minces no words: the blanket holds are “harming military readiness and risks damaging U.S. national security.”

Harming military readiness and risks damaging U.S. national security.

That’s the assessment of former Secretaries of Defense from both parties.

That is the damage caused by the Senator from Alabama.

The Secretaries of Defense explain that these holds are preventing key leaders from taking important command positions, including leading the 5th fleet in Bahrain—critical for keeping Iran in check—and the 7th fleet in the Pacific—critical for keeping the Chinese government in check.   

Let me read just one sentence from the letter: “Leaving these and many other senior positions in doubt at a time of enormous geopolitical uncertainty sends the wrong message to our adversaries and could weaken our deterrence.”

Senator Tuberville’s holds are also affecting the next military representative to NATO, a post essential in allied efforts to support Ukraine. The future Director of Intelligence at U.S. Cyber Command is also impacted.

I hope Senate Republicans read the letter and tell Senator Tuberville to drop these reckless holds. I urge all my Republican colleagues to impress upon Senator Tuberville the damage he is causing to our military, our people who have served for decades, and to our own national security at a time where we can’t afford to drag our heels on national defense. All of us in the Senate have strong opinions on various topics, but that cannot justify putting our national preparedness at risk.