House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said Sunday that Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) holds on the confirmations of more than 300 military officers is “paralyzing” the Department of Defense.
“This is paralyzing the Department of Defense,” McCaul said on CNN’s “State of The Union.” “This idea that one man in the Senate can hold this up for months, I understand maybe promotions, but nominations, is paralyzing the Department of Defense.”
The six-month hold on more than 300 senior military officers’ confirmations has drawn fresh criticism from both sides of the aisle as the Senate returned from a monthlong recess.
The policy Tuberville is protesting allows for paid leave and travel reimbursement for service members seeking an abortion, which Tuberville argues is a violation of the Hyde Amendment, a rule that prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion.
Calling the holds a “national security problem,” McCaul said he wishes Tuberville would reconsider it as the issue has been “worked out” on the House side in reference to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual defense policy package.
The House passed its version of the annual defense policy in July, including several conservative amendments that featured a measure to reverse the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy. The Democratic-majority Senate later passed its version, which did not include several GOP-led provisions in the House version, including the abortion policy.
“We’re going to conference in the Senate, we’re going to work out this abortion issue that has been a tradition within the NDAA,” McCaul said.
The House will return from recess Tuesday, setting up for a showdown between the congressional chambers. Tuberville has said he hopes the NDAA will incorporate the language used in the House version regarding the abortion policy.
McCaul spoke out about the importance of the NDAA bill in July, stressing service members’ “readiness and our ability to fight the war” should not be politicized at the end of the day.