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Sen. Tuberville drops remaining holds on senior military promotions

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., speaks to reporters on his way to a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 7.
Drew Angerer
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Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., speaks to reporters on his way to a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 7.

After months of delay, 11 four-star level military promotions have been approved by the U.S. Senate.

They had previously been blocked by Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville over unrelated objections about Pentagon abortion policy.

Tuberville had blocked all military promotions since February in what he said was a protest against a Pentagon policy that pays for service members' travel to seek abortion care.

Earlier in December, he dropped his holds for everyone nominated for promotions other than to four-star general without securing any policy concessions.

The 11 promotions affected included the commanders of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pacific Air Forces, Air Combat Command, U.S. Northern Command, Cyber Command and Space Command, according to the Pentagon.

"All of those positions, obviously are key senior leadership positions to include the vice chiefs of the various services," Defense Department spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters earlier this month.

"Clearly vital and critical organizations, all of which require experience senior leaders in those positions," Ryder added.

During the blockade, the backlog at one point grew to more than 450 people. Tuberville was criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike over concerns that it damaged military readiness.

Tuberville's full drop of the blockade comes as lawmakers were anxious to get home for the holidays and with no concessions on the horizon on the military's abortion policies.

Earlier in December, Tuberville defended his blockade, saying he had made an effort to "stand up for the taxpayers of this country" against what he called a "bad policy."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Eric McDaniel
Eric McDaniel edits the NPR Politics Podcast. He joined the program ahead of its 2019 relaunch as a daily podcast.