Senator Tommy Tuberville Speaks with WEIS Radio’s Jerry Baker on DoD Holds, Farm Bill, Among other Topics

Recently, WEIS Radio News had the opportunity to speak with Republican U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville on a variety of topics – and his thought process can pretty much be summed up as “think it through – and then move forward and get the job done.”

Tuberville talked about a long list of items that he is currently working on, including being on the Armed Services Committee, growing up in a military family, providing farmers with proper equipment and addressing their needs to help them gain all of the information that they need to be successful for everyone across America. Among other topics, he also discussed the Biden Administration and its views on a number of sensitive issues.



Senator Tuberville recently wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal explaining his decision to place a hold on all U.S. Department of Defense civilian and flag officer nominees. Last week, Senator Tuberville defended his holds for the seventh time on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June 2022, the Department of Defense claimed in a memorandum that the ruling would “have significant implications for…the readiness of the Force,” but provided no evidence to support this conclusion.

On July 15, 2022, Senator Tuberville and Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) sent a letter calling on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to justify the assertion. The letter went unanswered.

On October 20, 2022, Secretary Austin released another memorandum entitled “Ensuring Access to Reproductive Health Care.”  The memo outlined the Department of Defense’s intent to develop policy, procedures, and programs to expand taxpayer-subsided abortion in the military beyond what is currently allowed under federal law.

On November 28, 2022, Senator Tuberville and his Republican SASC colleagues sent an additional letter to Secretary Austin asking him to explain the October memo and the Department of Defense’s justification for the potential expansion of its abortion policy. In the letter, the senators warned, “The Department’s actions send the implicit message to our service members that pregnancy is a liability to the force and our military’s success hinges on access to abortion. This is an egregious mistake.” Again, the letter went unanswered.

The Department of Defense finally scheduled a briefing for Senate offices on November 17, 2022 about the Department’s memorandums and potential policy changes. However, the briefing was abruptly canceled. In response, on December 5, 2022, Senator Tuberville placed a hold on DoD nominations until the Pentagon rescheduled the canceled briefing and responded to questions about the military’s memos on reproductive care.

Within 24 hours, the DoD rescheduled the staff briefing, and it occurred on December 7, 2022. During the rescheduled briefing for members of Senator Tuberville’s staff, Department of Defense officials revealed their intent to announce a new policy that would cover travel and leave for service members and their dependents seeking abortions. Following the briefing, on December 9, 2022, Senator Tuberville notified Secretary Austin that he would place an additional hold on Department of Defense nominees if the Department implemented its abortion plan, which Senator Tuberville believes is illegal.

The department’s authority to fund abortions is governed by 10 U.S.C. 1093, which limits abortions to cases of rape, incest, or pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother. These rules apply to both service members and their spouses and dependents. Given this provision, the Department of Defense has averaged fewer than 20 abortions per year, with 91 abortions at military facilities occurring between 2016 and 2021. According to a third-party study cited by officials, the number of abortions subsidized by the Department of Defense under the new policy could increase to 4,100 annually — 205 times the number of abortions performed in recent years.

Without responding to Senator Tuberville’s pledge, Secretary Austin released another memorandum on February 16, 2023 announcing  the formal implementation of the abortion policy to fund travel and paid time off for service members and their dependents seeking an abortion, despite existing law.

On March 8, 2023, Senator Tuberville followed through with his pledge to hold all general and flag officer nominations on the Senate floor. Senator Tuberville’s hold forces the Senate to consider and vote on the nominations by regular order instead of approving them in batches by unanimous consent, which can be considerably faster. The nominations can still be approved by the Senate, but the Majority Leader must make additional time for them to be considered on the floor.

Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) attacked Senator Tuberville’s pro-life stance multiple times on the U.S. Senate floor and in an email to Democrat Senators.

Senator Schumer also claimed Coach’s hold is “unprecedented,” repeating a debunked talking point from failed presidential candidate Michael Bennet.

Senator Schumer said, “Blocking military choices is unprecedented—unprecedented. It hasn’t happened before and it could weaken our national security.”

Senator Schumer is wrong. There is ample precedent for what Senator Tuberville is doing to block the Pentagon’s illegal abortion policy. Here are just a few examples:

  • 1992:The Senate held up the promotion and transfer of approximately 9,000 Navy and Marine officers until the Navy provided evidence to prove none of the individuals were involved in the Talihook scandal. A bipartisan pair of Senators orchestrated the hold.
  • 1996:Then-Intelligence Committee Chairman Arlen Specter held hundreds of promotions — including commission for the U.S. Naval Academy’s graduating class — in protest of Secretary of Defense William Perry’s refusal answer questions about the nation’s spy agencies. Chairman Specter routinely blocked consideration of officer promotions.
  • 1997:Senators Jim Inhofe, Don Nickles, and Robert Bennett held the promotion of Lt. Gen. George Babbit to protect the jobs at Air Force repair depots in California and Texas. To retaliate, Senator Phil Gramm, of Texas, held more than 40 general officer promotions.
  • 2003:Senator Larry Craig held more than 200 Air Force promotions to demand the Air Force honor a commitment he said was made in 1996 to add four C-130 transport planes to a half-squadron already in place at Gowen Air National Guard Base in Boise.
  • 2010:Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama placed a hold on all executive branch nominees to push back against the Pentagon’s tanker bidding process.
  • 2010:Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) threatened to hold all Pentagon military nominations until he was given information about the DoD’s decision to close a base in his state.
  • 2020:Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced said that she would block the Senate confirmation of more than 1,100 senior military promotions to force then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to promote  Col. Alexander Vindman.
  • 2023:Senator Michael Bennet threatened to hold Pentagon nominees because he was upset his home state lost a competition to house U.S. Space Command headquarters — to Alabama. (Colorado didn’t even make the top three.) Despite his false claims to the contrary, reports show his hold would have applied to six Pentagon nominees.

As of now, Senator Tuberville’s hold is affecting more than 200 general, civilian and flag officers

Senator Tuberville’s hold affects far fewer nominees than holds by Senator Duckworth, Senator Shelby, Senator Craig, and Senator Webb. Notably, the nominees can still be approved if they are indeed a threat to military readiness. Senator Tuberville’s hold forces the Senate to consider and vote on the nominations by regular order instead of approving them in batches by unanimous consent. Currently, there is one general for every 1,400 enlisted service members. During World War II, that ratio was 1:6,000, meaning there has been a 328% increase in the number of generals since WWII.

Although the left tried to portray that Senator Tuberville’s actions were dividing the party, support is growing for his decision to hold the Department of Defense accountable for circumventing the law.


  • As Alabama’s voice on the Senate AG Committee, Senator Tuberville is working hard to make sure the best interests of our state’s foresters, farmers, and producers are included in the 2023 Farm Bill.
  • He and his staff have been talking regularly with those in different sectors of Alabama’s ag industry, and visited various key sites across the state.
  • Last week, Senator Tuberville led his first hearing as Ranking Member of the Senate AG Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy.
    • The hearing, titled “Rural Broadband: Connecting our Communities to the Digital Economy,” focused on ways to expand broadband access in rural communities in the 2023 Farm Bill.
    • Senator Tuberville invited Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative CEO Fred Johnson of Rainsville to be a key witness at the hearing.
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