It’s been more than six months since Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville first announced his decision to block hundreds of high-level military promotions over the Biden administration’s military abortion policy. During that time, his staff has worked to justify the blockage in multiple memos to reporters, including listing seven other times when senators blocked military promotions and high-profile nominations.
But Scripps News found that key individuals involved in nearly all the cases cited by Tuberville’s team reject the comparison.
“It’s totally apples and oranges here,” retired Gen. Arnold Punaro told Scripps News.
This list spans from 1992 until recently this year. It cites senators on both sides of the aisle threatening or blocking Pentagon nominees for a variety of reasons.
The first alleged precedent, from 1992, cites the decision of a bipartisan pair of senators to block military promotions over the Navy’s tailhook scandal, an incident in which dozens of Navy and Marine aviators were fired during a conference in Las Vegas in 1991. Women were sexually harassed. ,
Punaro remembers the situation well – he was staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1983 to 1997.
“In the context of that scandal, you had hundreds of people who were involved in misconduct, including some who committed criminal offenses of sexual assault,” the retired general told Scripps News.
“The committee felt there was a need to review each individual involved and ensure they were cleared of any misconduct,” Punaro said. “It shows how much of a rookie he is,” he said of Tuberville.
The next example on the list of seven is from 1996, when then-Senator Arlen Specter organized hundreds of promotions in protest of ” [the] Secretary of Defense[‘s] denied [to] Answer questions about the country’s spy agencies.”
Craig Snyder, who served as Specter’s chief of staff in 1996, said, “In general, it is correct that Senator Specter had no objection to using the hold power when he felt there was a vital national interest involved. Is.”
“Specter was trying to get to the bottom of whether the Clinton administration was responding appropriately [Osama] Bin Laden,” Snyder told Scripps about the late senator’s 1996 capture.
“I don’t know if you can compare it to, you know, the culture war issue about abortion.”
In six of the seven examples listed, Scripps News spoke to aides, former staffers and Tuberville’s former Senate aide, retired Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who served from 1987 until earlier this year — all of whom said the precedents hold. Are not above.
“I’ve blocked a bunch of nominees, but not the generals and all that,” Shelby told Scripps News by phone.
When contacted for comment, Steven Stafford, communications director for Senator Tuberville, told Scripps News that the detailed examples amount to “opinion.”
“It doesn’t change the fact that many senators have had military nominations over the years and they generally got what they wanted,” Stafford told Scripps via email.
Although Congress has returned from its month-long August recess, the Pentagon’s abortion policy is not expected to change, and Senator Tuberville characterized its holding as “extraordinary” and “necessary” to compel the Biden administration to Emphasized.
As of Friday, September 8, there were 273 senior military promotions held up in the Senate, according to a spokesperson for the Senate Armed Services Committee.