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‘I couldn’t get anybody to negotiate’


FIRST ON FOX: After months of holding military promotions over the Pentagon’s abortion policy, Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., relented this week amid growing calls from lawmakers – including some in his party – to drop them. He blamed Democrat senators for not coming to the table to negotiate.

“I couldn’t get anybody to negotiate,” Tuberville told Fox News Digital on Thursday. “Democrats cared nothing about negotiating, and they wanted to stick by the unlawful executive order.”

Tuberville released all holds except about a dozen four-star generals, which he said he’ll likely vote for when they’re brought to the floor. 

The Alabama Republican’s change of tune comes as a Democrat-led effort to change Senate rules to allow hundreds of promotions to proceed without voting individually was gaining momentum from lawmakers, including some in his own party. 

“I hated to drop the holds, but I didn’t want them to change the rules in the Senate,” he said. “You can only fight for so long and when you’ve basically run out of options, it’s time to change your game plan. So, now my game plan will be to work on it for the budget next year, and also try to get President Trump elected because he will change it back.”

TUBERVILLE ENDS BLOCKADE OF MOST MILITARY PROMOTIONS AFTER MONTHS-LONG ABORTION FIGHT

Tommy Tuberville in November 2023

Sen. Tommy Tuberville attends the House and Senate committee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Additionally, Tuberville said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., “changed the rules” in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – an annual bill that authorizes funding for the U.S. military and other defense initiatives – by not allowing a vote to remove the abortion policy from the budget earlier this year.

“He changed the rules midstream and said, ‘No, I’m gonna make all decisions, I’m not gonna leave that policy in there that was in the House budget,'” he said. “So you just can’t beat somebody that’s got the ability to change the rules.”

Tuberville began blocking President Biden’s military nominations in February over what he said was the Pentagon’s “illegal” policy of providing travel expense reimbursements to service members who seek an abortion. The Biden administration adopted the policy last year in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and held the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.

TUBERVILLE NOT BUDGING ON MILITARY HOLDS OVER ABORTION POLICY AS DEMS EYE RULES CHANGE

military army

Almost 400 military nominations had been in limbo due to Tuberville’s blanket hold on confirmations and promotions. (Fox News Digital)

Almost 400 military nominations have since been in limbo due to Tuberville’s blanket hold on confirmations and promotions for senior military officers. Tuberville’s opponents have said it has left key national security positions unfilled and military families with an uncertain path forward.

Other routes to overcome the Pentagon’s policy have sprung up in the last few months. One of those avenues, introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., proposed taking the policy to court. It would need the support of House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., to bolster momentum for a lawsuit.

“We’ve been working on that for six or seven months,” Tuberville said. “I think eventually, that will happen.”

However, he added, the court system “takes a long time” and the effort would have to start in the House. 

GOP SENATORS RAIL AGAINST TUBERVILLE’S MILITARY HOLDS NEARLY ALL NIGHT 

Air Force logo

The Air Force seal hangs on the wall, Feb. 24, 2009, at the Pentagon. (Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images)

Nonetheless, Tuberville said he will “continue to fight” to eliminate the abortion policy. 

“It wasn’t the outcome that I wanted, but again, I got a lot of people’s attention, of the illegal use of taxpayer money for abortion,” Tuberville said. 

Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report. 



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