How One Senator’s Hold on Military Promotions Is Hurting Readiness
Plus: After the most recent verdict, Capitol Hill is fully numb to Trump.
Good afternoon and welcome to Press Pass. There’s been a lot of news in the past 48 hours in Washington, and we’ve got the rundown below. I spoke to multiple senators in the immediate aftermath of a jury finding Donald Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a civil suit; we’ll also discuss how one senator is blocking the promotions of nearly 200 senior military personnel.
A quick note before we dive in: I’m sure many of you have started reading my colleague Will Saletan’s book-length article, The Corruption of Lindsey Graham, a major project now available as a free PDF and as an Amazon Kindle e-book. Bulwark+ members can tune in to Thursday Night Bulwark tonight at 9 p.m. ET to catch Will discussing the story with Bulwark editors Jonathan V. Last and Adam Keiper. You won’t want to miss it.
Nearly 200 senior military promotions are in limbo
Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has been on a mission this year to block 184 senior military promotions that require the consent of the Senate. Tuberville is doing this over what he believes to be a violation of the Hyde Amendment barring federal funds from being used for abortions: a Biden-era Department of Defense policy that allows leave and limited reimbursements for members of the military who need to travel out of state to obtain abortions.
In late April, there was a brief dustup in the Senate when Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) requested unanimous consent to immediately push the stalled promotions through. Yesterday, another attempt by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), also failed. (Unanimous consent is a procedure that can enable either chamber of Congress to expedite proceedings without recorded votes. It is often used to speed along uncontroversial and nonpartisan business like renaming post offices or promoting top military brass.) Tuberville stood firm, and the promotions are still in limbo. It doesn’t look like anyone should expect him to break anytime soon.
I caught up with the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jack Reed. The Rhode Island Democrat told me, “It’s completely contrary to the custom and the practice of the Senate.”