Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) announced its radical decision to pay for service members to get elective abortions by funding extra time off, travel, and any other additional related expenses. The department did this in violation of federal law. DOD’s authority is governed by 10 U.S. C. §1093, which limits spending to cases of rape, incest, or pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother. It is Congress who writes law and also who controls and authorizes spending. DOD bypassed both aspects to implements its new policy.
In response, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) promised to place a “hold” on all DOD nominees until the policy was reversed. Fast forward to now, the policy is still in place, Tuberville maintains his stance, and conflicts around the world threaten to pull in the United States – highlighting the need for the U.S. to be ready militarily. In an attempt to end the stalemate between the DOD and the Senate, Sen. Ted Budd (R-North Carolina) is leading a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, imploring him to reverse this egregious policy once and for all.
The DOD’s policy is both immoral and illegal. Politics drive it. After the Dobbs ruling in 2022, the Biden Administration sought to expand abortion access by whatever means possible in order to appease its pro-abortion base. Several agencies announced various ways that they would be promoting or funding “sexual reproductive health,” as they euphemistically call it. The DOD is just one among many agencies exponentially increasing their efforts to promote abortion.
However, DOD is part of the Executive Branch, which is constitutionally designed to enforce laws, not create them. Agencies can only issue regulations that follow the laws and funding constraints passed by Congress. And the truth is that Congress has never authorized funding for abortions except in the case of rape, incest, and life of the mother. The new radical expansion of DOD’s policy is an attempt by the Administration to bypass Congress and illegally push their radical abortion agenda.
The months-long standoff between Sen. Tuberville and the DOD has inflamed tensions in the Senate. Many members, including some from Tuberville’s own party, argue that he’s harming the United States’ ability to be ready for war. But the accusation is disingenuous. Tuberville is not preventing these nominees from being voted on and promoted. He is instead preventing them from being confirmed via “unanimous consent,” or UC.
Many high-ranking administration officials, including military generals, must be confirmed by the Senate before taking their post. Most of these nominees are uncontroversial, so instead of using valuable floor time to vote on each one, senators agree by unanimous consent to bypass the rules and confirm the nominees in a group without a vote. Any one senator can withhold his consent at any time; this does not stop the nominee from being confirmed, it merely slows down the process. In the case of these DoD nominees, Senate majority leader Schumer has only to bring nominees to floor to be voted on individually. Since June, he has done this several times, confirming the fact that Tuberville is not “blocking” the nominations per se.
Despite the intense pressure, Tuberville continues to stand resolutely on behalf of the unborn. He should be commended.
Now the Senate is contemplating every possible solution, including a rule change that would undermine constitutionally dictated Senate operations. Sen. Budd’s letter is an attempt to convince the DOD to reverse course (which is not only much easier to do, but it is the right thing to do) before the Senate takes that drastic step.
The ability to place a hold on a nominee is a unique tool in the Senate to allow minority voices to be heard. Yet the proposed resolution would change the rules by making it harder for Senators to object to promotions. Not only would this undermine Tuberville’s ability to fight against the DOD’s abortion policy, it would also provide a roadmap for loosening the rules on other appointments such as judges and ambassadors, or to fast track legislation. The Senate Rules Committee will hold a hearing on the resolution on November 14.
Instead of changing longstanding Senate procedure that will undermine the Senate as an institution to get back a Sen. Tuberville, Sen. Budd’s letter focuses the blame where it belongs – on Secretary Austin and the DOD. While they could be prioritizing salary increases or better conditions for military members, Austin’s focus is on increasing abortion access and other woke policies. CWALAC is proud to endorse Sen. Budd’s letter and continues to support Sen. Tuberville’s heroic efforts to protect life.