Sep 8, 2023, 6:21am EDT

Abigail Spanberger rages over Tuberville blockade

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Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va. says her vet-heavy district is fuming over Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s “outrageous” hold on hundreds of military promotions in protest of a Pentagon abortion policy.

Spanberger, whose district includes the Marine Corps Base Quantico, said Tuberville’s blockade has come up at town halls and veterans events over the recess period. “In the event that he would better understand it in a football analogy: If we were to take his quarterback and his entire offensive line off the football field, would he still be ready to win games?” she told Semafor.

Tuberville spokesman Steven Stafford dismissed the notion that the hold impacts national security. “The analogy doesn’t work because acting officials are in all these roles. No jobs are open. We still have an offensive line, and in many places they’re the same people who have been nominated to fill the role permanently,” he told Semafor.

Spanberger described one constituent who told her he was supposed to be transferred to another base but was stuck on desk duty due to the promotion blockade.

“He’s telling me, I think I’m just going to sit at the Pentagon until this is done,” she said.

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Tuberville has single handedly prevented the quick confirmation of military promotions over the Pentagon’s policy of paying for the travel costs of service members who travel to get abortions — with no end in sight. He’s demanded the Pentagon rescind the policy and the Senate instead vote on equivalent legislation. “It has to go through Congress,” Tuberville told NewsNation’s Leland Vittert earlier this week.

The secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force accused him of “putting our national security at risk” in a joint op-ed this week, saying the hold was causing disruption and financial harm for officers caught in limbo and their families, some of whom were forced to maintain two residences in the interim.

Spanberger said the Pentagon should not change its policy, arguing doing so would set a bad precedent. But she acknowledged that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer may ultimately need to start putting nominations on the floor one at a time for votes, even at the cost of valuable floor time. “No, it’s not ideal; Yes, it’s unprecedented,” she said.