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Former Vice President Pence backed Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) holds on senior military promotions, supporting his protest over military abortion policy.
“On day one, I’ll direct the Department of Defense to to stop using taxpayer dollars to undermine pro-life laws in states around the country,” Pence said in a speech Friday. “Sen Tommy Tuberville is right, and the Pentagon is wrong,”
Tuberville’s protest prevents the Senate from passing bills signing off on senior military promotion en masse, instead requiring an entire roll call vote for each one. There are more than 300 pending promotions, including multiple military branch chiefs.
The protest has lasted nearly six months.
The leaders of the Army, Marine Corps and Navy are in acting roles because the Senate has not yet confirmed them, limiting their authority.
He started the hold over a Pentagon policy to allow military service members to take time off to receive abortion care.
Pence is among a small number of notable Republicans who have backed Tuberville, as the protests have garnered criticism from both political parties and from those in the military. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called out the strategy this week.
“I think holding these non-policymaking career military [officials] who can’t be involved in politics at all is a mistake, and we continue to work on that and I hope at some point we can get it clear,” McConnell said Tuesday.
Pence is the most outspoken anti-abortion advocate on the 2024 campaign trail. He was the first presidential candidate to endorse a 15-week national abortion ban policy and has signaled he would also consider banning abortion in cases where the fetus is not viable.
“I’m pro-life. I don’t apologize for it,” Pence told The Associated Press in July. “I just have heard so many stories over the years of courageous women and families who were told that their unborn child would not go to term or would not survive. And then they had a healthy pregnancy and a healthy delivery.”
Those inside the military have also criticized the move, saying it impacts national security as well may encourage some waiting for promotions to seek jobs outside the military.
“Any claim that holding up the promotions of top officers does not directly damage the military is wrong — plain and simple,” the Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs wrote in an op-ed earlier this month.
Attempts to negotiate with Tuberville from within the Republican Party have reportedly failed.