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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Senate confirms chairman of Joint Chiefs, as Tuberville continues to dam lots of of army nominees | U.S.



The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Gen. CQ Brown as the subsequent chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, placing him in place to succeed Gen. Mark Milley when he retires on the finish of the month. Brown’s affirmation on an 83-11 vote, months after President Joe Biden nominated him for the put up, comes as Democrats attempt to maneuver round holds positioned on lots of of nominations by Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville over the Pentagon’s abortion coverage.

The Senate can also be anticipated to substantiate Gen. Randy George to be Military Chief of Workers and Gen. Eric Smith as commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps this week.

Tuberville has been blocking the Senate from the routine means of approving army nominations in teams, irritating Democrats who had mentioned they might not undergo the time-consuming means of mentioning particular person nominations for a vote. Greater than 300 nominees are nonetheless stalled amid Tuberville’s blockade, and confirming them one-by-one would take months.

However Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., reversed course on Wednesday and moved to power votes on Brown, George, and Smith.

“Senator Tuberville is forcing us to face his obstruction head on,” Schumer mentioned. “I need to clarify to my Republican colleagues — this can not proceed.”

Tuberville didn’t object to the affirmation votes, saying he’ll preserve his holds, however is ok with mentioning nominations individually for roll name votes.

White Home nationwide safety spokesman John Kirby mentioned that Brown’s affirmation, together with anticipated votes on Smith and George, is constructive information. However “we must always have by no means been on this place,” he mentioned.

“Whereas good for these three officers, it doesn’t repair the issue or present a path ahead for the 316 different basic and flag officers which are held up by this ridiculous maintain,” Kirby informed reporters.

Brown, a profession fighter pilot, was the Air Power’s first Black commander of the Pacific Air Forces and most not too long ago its first Black chief of workers, making him the primary African American to steer any of the army branches. His affirmation may even mark the primary time the Pentagon’s high two posts have been held by African Individuals, with Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin as the highest civilian chief.

In an announcement late Wednesday, Austin mentioned Brown could be a “large chief” as the brand new chairman.

Brown, 60, replaces Joint Chiefs Chairman Military Gen. Mark Milley, who’s retiring after 4 a long time in army service. Milley’s four-year time period as chairman ends on Sept. 30.

Tuberville mentioned on Wednesday that he’ll proceed to carry up the opposite nominations until the Pentagon ends its coverage of paying for journey when a service member has to exit of state to get an abortion or different reproductive care. The Biden administration instituted the coverage after the Supreme Courtroom overturned the nationwide proper to an abortion and a few states have restricted or banned the process.

“Let’s do one after the other or change the coverage again,” Tuberville mentioned after Schumer put the three nominations up for a vote. “Let’s vote on it.”

In an effort to power Tuberville’s hand, Democrats had mentioned they might not carry up probably the most senior nominees whereas the others have been nonetheless stalled. “There’s an previous saying within the army, depart nobody behind,” Senate Armed Providers Chairman Jack Reed mentioned in July.

However in a pissed off speech on the Senate ground, Schumer mentioned Wednesday he was left with no different selection.

“Senator Tuberville is utilizing them as pawns,” Schumer mentioned of the nominees.

The votes come as a number of army officers have spoken out in regards to the harm of the delays for service members. Whereas Tuberville’s holds are targeted on all basic and flag officers, they carry profession impacts on the army’s youthful rising officers. Till every basic or admiral is confirmed, it blocks a chance for a extra junior officer to rise.

That impacts pay, retirement, life-style and future assignments — and in some fields the place the personal sector pays extra, it turns into tougher to persuade these extremely educated younger leaders to remain.

“Senator Tuberville’s continued maintain on lots of of our nation’s army leaders endangers our nationwide safety and army readiness. It’s nicely previous time to substantiate the over 300 different army nominees,” Austin mentioned, noting he would “proceed to personally have interaction with members of Congress in each events till all of those well-qualified, apolitical officers are confirmed.”

Tuberville mentioned he has not talked to Austin since July in regards to the holds.

The blockade has pissed off members on each side of the aisle, and it’s nonetheless unclear how the bigger standoff can be resolved. Schumer didn’t say if he’ll put extra nominations on the ground.

The monthslong holds have devolved right into a convoluted procedural forwards and backwards in latest days.

Tuberville claimed victory after Schumer’s transfer, although the Pentagon coverage stays unchanged.

“We known as them out, and so they blinked,” he informed reporters of Schumer.

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