Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) moved forward with three military nominations Tuesday, despite Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) months-long hold on them.
Schumer filed cloture on the nominations of Adm. Lisa Franchetti for chief of naval operations, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin for chief of staff of the Air Force and Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney for assistant commandant of the Marine Corps. His decision comes just two days after Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith was hospitalized due to a “medical emergency” Sunday evening.
“This scary incident involving General Smith shows why it’s supremely risky to play politics with military appointments, as Sen. Tuberville is doing,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “Emergencies happen, and when they do, the chain of command must be able to respond but thanks to Senator Tuberville, there is no current number two at the Marine Corps to fill in.”
“The situation at the Marine Corps is precisely the kind of avoidable emergency that Senator Tuberville has provoked through his blanket holds,” he added.
The Marine’s assistant commandant is typically the one to step in to the role if the commandant is unavailable, but due to Tuberville’s hold that is not the case. Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, the deputy commandant for combat development and integration and commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, is serving as the interim acting head.
The White House nominated Mahoney for the job in July, but his nomination is one of the many that Tuberville held up due to his objection over the Pentagon policy to reimburse travel expenses for service members seeking abortions out of state from where they are based.
Schumer also urged Tuberville to drop his holds “at once” in his floor speech.
“Every day that Senator Tuberville continues his blanket holds, our military preparedness is worse off. Our military families suffer. Our military appointments risk being further ensnared in partisan politics, which is a point of no return we must never cross in the Senate,” he said.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Tuberville’s office said the Alabama Republican “forced this move by Senator Schumer.”
“This is an admission by Chuck Schumer that the Senate is capable of voting on military nominations after all,” the spokesperson said. “This is the second time Coach has forced Schumer to vote and it just shows that Coach and 16 other Republicans can do this to Senator Schumer as many times as they want. And maybe they will.”
This also comes as Senate Democrats, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and a handful of Republicans are looking to pursue a rarely used procedural tactic to defeat Tuberville’s blockade as he continues to protest the Department of Defense’s abortion policies.
It involves a standing resolution that would let the Senate move military promotions in a group through the end of 2024, with exceptions for officers nominated to a position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff or to lead a Combatant Command. However, it would need at least nine Republican votes to pass.
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This story originally Appeared on The Hill