A Republican senator has vowed to keep blocking President Joe Biden’s Executive Branch nominees as long as the Defense Department continues to “facilitate taxpayer-funded abortions.”
“Federal law permits the U.S. military to only provide abortions in very narrow circumstances: rape, incest, and threat to the life of the mother. Yet, the Biden administration has turned our Department of Defense into an abortion travel agency,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama wrote in a column for The Daily Signal last week. He added that the change was made by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin without any congressional direction.
On February 16, the Biden administration announced a policy that allows abortion on demand not only for those enlisted in the military, but also for their family members, potentially impacting millions of people. American taxpayers will be responsible for covering non-chargeable paid time off and travel costs associated with these abortions, he noted, arguing that this policy goes beyond what current law allows.
“The U.S. Constitution is clear: Congress makes the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws. Austin seems to think he can make or change the law without going through Congress,” the Alabama Republican wrote. “It would be irresponsible for the U.S. Senate to allow an administration [to] walk all over the legislative branch. Austin cannot change the law by memo. Congress cannot be replaced by a post on the Department of Defense website.”
— Coach Tommy Tuberville (@SenTuberville) March 23, 2023
In December, Tuberville informed Austin and his department that he would block nominees from Senate confirmation if the Biden administration attempted to impose abortion on demand on the military. Despite this warning, the administration proceeded with their policy, fully aware of the possible consequences, he added.
“Despite efforts to pressure me to drop my hold, I will continue to block these nominees until the Department of Defense follows the law—or Congress changes the law,” his column continued. “If these nominees are so important to the Democrats, then the Democratic Leader can find time to get them on the Senate floor. Frankly, I wish Democrats were this concerned about our enlisted servicemembers.”
Tuberville noted that the U.S. Army’s failure to meet its recruitment target by 15,000 active-duty soldiers during the previous fiscal year highlights a military recruitment crisis in the United States. This shortfall amounts to an entire division, which is significant, he added.
He went on to say that military officials testified before the Armed Services Committee recently and attributed the recruitment challenges to factors beyond their control. Some have pointed to policies implemented by the Biden administration as a contributing factor. During the hearing, Tuberville said he drew attention to training materials used by the U.S. Navy, which are believed to disparage religious Americans, who comprise the majority of the population.
“Why are Democrats more worried about confirming the Biden administration’s nominations than about our recruitment crisis?” he asked.
“The facts have not changed with the Department of Defense’s abortion policy. And, therefore, my position has not changed. I will continue to hold the nominations unless Austin rescinds or suspends his policy facilitating taxpayer-funded abortions for the military and their family members,” he added.