Leaders in the Democratic Party are pushing back against one of U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s ideas to end the stalemate over the Pentagon’s abortion policy.
Tuberville (R-Auburn) continues to place holds on unanimous consent of military promotions over the Department of Defense’s policy of paying for travel expenses for members of the military seeking an abortion.
The senator has suggested adding a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act that would ban the policy.
According to Politico, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), outright rejected the idea.
“No, screw him. He lost, and he’s trying to tear down this country because he disagrees with the policy,” Smith said of Tuberville. “If the Republicans insist upon that, we will not have an NDAA. And I don’t believe they will insist on that.”
Republicans in the House have already passed a version that gets rid of the Pentagon abortion policy in hopes that maybe they can join Senate Republicans in forcing it through the final compromise version of the NDAA.
Tuberville called it a “bargaining chip.”
“If it stays in there and the Senate passes it, (Biden will) sign it or we won’t have an NDAA,” he said. “We’ve got a different speaker. It’s going to come to conference, and being on Armed Services, we’ll get an opportunity to work with people there to try to keep it in the NDAA.”
So far, the Democratic leadership said they will not support the provision in the defense bill, and some are working toward a rule change that would end Tuberville’s blockade.
“Enough is enough,” Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told NPR last week. “Sen. Tuberville has not listened to those that are running our military and he’s not listened to his own Republican colleagues.”
The Rule Committee plans to vote on the resolution Tuesday. If the committee approves, then the rule change would head toward the Senate floor.
“This isn’t a game, Sen. Tuberville,” Klobuchar said. “It’s not a football game. It’s real life. Right now, you have the head of the Marines who had a heart attack and is in the hospital after trying to do two jobs. You’ve got the head of Cyber Com held up while that is clearly one of Vladimir Putin’s weapons, using the internet, using cyber against our country and others. You’ve got the head of the Air Command in the Pacific held up. It’s just one thing after another.”
Tuberville again responded to his critics, saying he has no plans to change his position on the issue.
“I’m still dug in,” Tuberville told CNN. “I’m standing up for the unborn. There’s going to have to be some give-and-take here as we go through this, because there’s 450 out there that haven’t had a promotion.”