Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona denounces Sen. Tommy Tuberville for blocking military promotions

Sep 11, 2023, 10:33 AM

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, left, of Arizona has denounced Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama for blocking ...

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, left, of Arizona has denounced Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama for blocking hundreds of military promotions. (Getty Images File Photos)

(Getty Images File Photos)

PHOENIX – U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) denounced Sen. Tommy Tuberville for blocking hundreds of military promotions, calling the Alabama Republican’s tactics “unconscionable and dangerous” in a opinion piece last week.

“Tuberville is treating our service members and their families as political pawns. For six months, he’s been blocking the promotion of every general and flag officer in the U.S. military. That’s 301 military positions and counting. Let that sink in,” Kelly, a Navy veteran, wrote in a column published Friday.

“That means everyone who is or is supposed to become a general or admiral has been prevented from being promoted and transferring to their next assignment. This leaves the most critical positions vacant or filled by acting personnel doing multiple jobs at once without the necessary experience and authority.”

Why is Sen. Tuberville stopping military promotions?

Tuberville has vowed to hold up the Senate process for approving military promotions until the Pentagon rescinds its policy of paying for travel when a servicemember goes out of state to get an abortion or other reproductive care.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin instituted the policy last October, after the Supreme Court ended the constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years.

Kelly wrote that he supports the Pentagon policy “because members don’t get to choose where they live and that shouldn’t prevent them from accessing the health care they need. Tuberville doesn’t and that’s his call. But the tactics he is using are unconscionable and dangerous.”

With Tuberville, a former college football coach who was elected to the Senate in 2020, continually blocking votes, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps have been left without Senate-confirmed chiefs.

Arizona’s Kelly isn’t alone in criticizing Tuberville

The secretaries of the Navy, Air Force and Army wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post earlier last week saying Tuberville’s efforts were not only unfair to the military leaders and their families, but are “putting our national security at risk.”

Kelly, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, echoed those sentiments.

“Tuberville either doesn’t understand that or just doesn’t care, but it doesn’t make a difference, because the consequences are the same,” the Arizona Democrat wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona denounces Sen. Tommy Tuberville for blocking military promotions