Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he is optimistic that the Senate will soon be able to move on from the hold that Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) has maintained on confirmations of military promotions and nominations.
For months, Mr. Tuberville has blocked the Senate from using unanimous consent motions to rapidly confirm military promotions. Mr. Tuberville initiated this delaying tactic to protest a Department of Defense (DOD) policy to fund abortion-related travel and allocate leave time for service members.
Mr. Tuberville contends that DOD policy runs afoul of a federal law codified under the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from paying for abortions in most cases.
The Alabama Republican's protest tactic does not prevent the Senate from confirming military promotions and nominations but does require the Senate to go through a slower process under cloture. This has led to a backlog of around 400 nominees.
Mr. Tuberville has repeatedly insisted that he will keep up the tactic until the DOD either retracts its policy or Congress changes federal law to expressly permit the type of policy the DOD has adopted.
Some Senate Republicans, however, have begun to raise concerns that Mr. Tuberville's delaying tactic is harming U.S. military readiness and unfairly punishing the families of military officers who had no input on the DOD abortion travel policy.
'Real and Negative Consequences'Mr. Hewitt is among the growing list of political conservatives who have expressed frustration with Mr. Tuberville's delaying tactic. On Nov. 20, he said the DOD abortion travel policy "quite obviously" goes against the law, but noted that the military nominees Mr. Tuberville has stalled had nothing to do with creating the DOD policy.
Mr. Cruz agreed that Mr. Tuberville's hold on the military nominations is having "real and negative consequences" for the military officers involved, but said he believes the issue will soon come to a close.
"I’ve had multiple conversations with Tommy, and I believe in relatively short order this issue will get resolved, and we 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," Mr. Cruz said.
"I think you can do both, and I hope we do do both."
With a 60-vote threshold, the resolution would require the support of all Democrats and independents in the Senate, along with nine Republican senators in order to pass.
The Texas Republican did not specify how he expects the current impasse to be resolved. He said he does not agree with the Democrats' plan to modify Senate rules to bypass Mr. Tuberville's holds.
So far, no Senate Republican has expressly offered to support the Democrat-led standing resolution to modify the Senate rules. Mr. Hewitt said he was encouraged by Mr. Cruz's talk of a potential solution.
"I hope the standing resolution gets passed, and I hope the conference moves these career military people without any more additional rhetoric about their being desk jockeys, etc." Mr. Hewitt said.
NTD News reached out to Mr. Tuberville's office for comment but did not receive a response by the time this article was published.