U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville is threatening to hold up military nominees over the Pentagon’s decision to pay for travel expenses to troops and their families to gain abortion services.
In October, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the Pentagon will “establish travel and transportation allowances for Service members and their dependents, as appropriate and consistent with applicable federal law and operational requirements, and as necessary amend any applicable travel regulations, to facilitate official travel to access non-covered reproductive health care that is unavailable within the local area of a Service member’s permanent duty station.”
In a letter to Austin on Monday, Tuberville (R-Auburn) demanded answers from the Pentagon about the new “politically motivated” policy. The senator, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is threatening to hold up all Defense Department nominations over the new military abortion program.
“This unprofessional behavior does not reflect well upon your office or the Department of Defense,” Tuberville said. “Unfortunately I have come to expect this sort of delay and obfuscation from the Pentagon.
“As a result of your office’s ongoing recalcitrance to Congressional oversight, effective this morning, I have placed on hold all further nominees from the Department of Defense until such time as my staff is briefed to my satisfaction on this matter.”
Tuberville is not the only Republican senator to use this tactic.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) called for resignations and firings of senior administration staffers over mistakes made in the 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal. Hawley said he won’t lift the hold until the Senate Armed Services Committee hosts a hearing on the botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) announced a hold on all defense nominees this week over the issue of mandatory military vaccinations.
Currently, there are nine senior Defense Department nominees awaiting a full chamber vote for confirmation.