Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he believes that his Republican colleagues will soon reach a deal with Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) to clear the Alabama senator’s holds on more than 350 military promotions, averting the possibility that Democrats will advance a resolution to effectively change the Senate’s rules.
Cruz acknowledged in an interview with conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt that Tuberville’s holds are having “real and negative consequences” on the lives and careers of nonpartisan military officers and on military readiness.
But he predicted the issue will get resolved soon enough to avoid the prospect that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will bring a standing order resolution to the floor to move most of the stalled nominees in one big batch to circumvent Tuberville. Such a resolution would need 60 votes and the support of at least nine Republican senators.
“I believe this issue will get resolved,” Cruz said. “I don’t think the right resolution is a rules change. But I can tell you we have had a vigorous conversation within the Republican conference.”
“I’ve had multiple conversations with Tommy, and I believe in relatively short order, this issue will get resolved,” he said.
Cruz suggested that Tuberville and defense-minded GOP senators who are running out of patience with his hundreds of holds “will find a course of action that allows the military promotions that need to happen to go forward, but that also allows Tommy to continue to fight, and fight valiantly for the unborn.”
Tuberville has blocked the swift approval of military promotions since February to protest the Pentagon’s policy of reimbursing the travel costs of service members who obtain abortions.
Cruz’s comments came a few days after a group of Senate Republicans, led by Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), confronted Tuberville on the Senate floor late at night to pressure him to waive the procedural hurdles blocking the speedy confirmation of several officers.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) threatened to vote for the standing order resolution to empower Schumer to roll Tuberville if the backlog of nominees doesn’t get resolved by Christmas.
“I promise you this. This will be the last holiday this happens,” Graham said, referring to the group of military officers heading into Thanksgiving facing uncertain futures.
“If it takes me to vote to break loose these folks, I will,” Graham declared.
Sullivan said the number of military officers whose promotions are being delayed will soon reach 450.
One compromise proposal that has been floated would have Tuberville drop his holds on the Senate floor and instead challenge the Department of Defense’s abortion policies in court.
However, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who has supported Tuberville’s tactic of holding up military promotions, argued on the Senate floor Thursday that Tuberville or anyone else in Congress would have a hard time getting a court to recognize their legal standing to pursue a lawsuit.