Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke on the Senate floor today on Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) weakening our national security by holding up routine, nonpartisan military promotions. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Unfortunately, there are disturbing trends here in the Senate, and one of the most disturbing is what the Senator from Alabama is doing to weaken our national security.
For a long time, both parties have worked together to quickly confirm the routine promotions of generals and flag officers, without partisan bickering, without needless delay. Confirming military promotions is one of the most important responsibilities of the Senate, a charge that rises far above normal political fights.
But today, one member, one member – the Senator from Alabama – is blocking the routine promotion of 160 general and flag officers because he objects to women within the military getting access to reproductive care.
It’s very simple: the Senior Senator from Alabama wants to make the health care decisions for the women of our military.
And the Senator from Alabama is holding up scores of military nominees, who have not done anything to be treated this way, until he gets his way.
The women of our military are more than capable of making their own decisions when it comes to their health. They do not need the senior Senator from Alabama making decisions on their behalf. And they certainly do not need any Senator throwing a wrench in the function, the vital functioning of our military when they work every day to keep us safe.
So, the Senator from Alabama risks permanently injecting politics into the confirmation of routine military promotions.
The Senator from Alabama risks permanently injecting politics into the confirmation of routine military promotions, and that would risk our entire national security. For what? So he can push the MAGA hard line on blocking women’s choice, something that most women in this country, most people in this country, reject? That is beyond the pale.
Now let’s be clear: the Senator from Alabama’s delay of 160 routine military promotions is reckless. It puts American security in jeopardy. Among the 160 nominees that are on hold, all of whom have worked to earn their promotions, all of whom we need to protect our security, include five three-star generals; commanders for U.S. Naval Forces in the Pacific and Middle East, people, leaders who are confronting the likes of China and Iran; and the U.S. Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee, which is especially important right now as Russia continues its war in Ukraine.
So let me say it again: this level of obstruction—of routine military promotions—is a reckless departure from Senate norm; none of us want to live in a world where military appointments get routinely politicized and that's just what the Senator from Alabama is doing.
He’s inflicting unnecessary damage to our military leadership. And it would paralyze the Senate if all of us had to take one roll call vote after another just to confirm routine, apolitical, qualified generals and other flag officers.
I know that members of both sides feel passionately at times about certain issues, we all do. But if every one of us went to the floor and said we're holding up every general, every admiral, every flag officer until we get our way, our military would come crashing down, it would be in shambles. And our national security would be in jeopardy, but that's just what the Senator from Alabama is doing.
The obstruction is dangerous, dangerous for our national security. I urge my colleague from Alabama to think about it. Why shouldn’t a member on this side block military appointments? Why shouldn’t any other member on that side [block], on things they believe in, just as passionately as he believes in his issue of choice?
The proper place to take it up is on the floor of the Senate or the House as a legislative proposal, not as hostage taking and taking hostage of our generals and admirals and people who deserve promotion.
So I urge my colleagues, my Republican colleagues on the other side to speak out and to certainly speak to the Senator from Alabama and tell him how reckless this is. Several of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle—to their everlasting credit—have voiced their concerns with the senator from Alabama's action. Our colleagues, our Republican leadership, should convince him to stand down and let these military promotions go through.