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Biden blasts Tuberville's 'ridiculous' Pentagon hold over abortion policy

President Biden on Thursday lambasted Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) months-long hold on hundreds of U.S. military promotions over the Pentagon’s abortion policy, calling it a “bizarre” position that is “jeopardizing U.S. security.” 

Speaking at a joint news conference with the Finnish president in Helsinki, Biden was asked whether he would be willing to speak with Tuberville about the hold. 

“I’d be willing to talk if I thought there’s any possibility of him changing his ridiculous position. He’s jeopardizing U.S. security with what he’s doing,” Biden replied.  

“I expect the Republican Party to stand up — stand up and do something about it. It’s in their power to do that,” he added. 

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.)

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) speaks to reporters as he arrives to the Senate Chamber fora vote on Thursday, June 15, 2023.

Since March, Tuberville has blocked the Senate from approving more than 250 military promotions in protest of the Defense Department’s policy to reimburse expenses for service members who travel to obtain an abortion. 

The GOP senator claims that the Pentagon’s policy, which provides paid leave and reimbursement costs for travel for those who must cross state lines for the procedure, violates the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits using federal funds for abortions. 

Tuberville’s hold is affecting numerous leadership posts held by key military officers, prompting concern from the White House, current and former Defense officials and congressional colleagues, all of whom have warned that the block is hurting national security. 

“The idea that we don’t have a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the idea that we have all these promotions that are in abeyance right now and we don’t know what’s going to happen, the idea that we’re injecting into fundamental foreign policy decisions what in fact is a domestic social debate on social issues, is bizarre,” Biden said at the press conference. “I don’t ever recall that happening, ever. And it’s just totally irresponsible, in my view.” 

He continued: “I’m confident that the mainstream Republican Party … does not support what he’s doing, but they got to stand up and be counted. That’s how it ends.”  

More coverage on Tuberville from The Hill:

House lawmakers this week are expected to vote on a controversial amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would reverse the Pentagon’s abortion policy. 

Source: The Hill

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