Schumer races to torch Senate rules before House wins for Tuberville in conference

Schumer races to torch Senate rules before House wins for Tuberville in conference

Schumer races to torch Senate rules before House wins for Tuberville in conference

Annoyed by Tommy Tuberville’s nine-month hold on military promotions — and too lazy to vote on each nominee individually — Senate Democrats have decided to take their usual way out: blowing up chamber precedent.

Suzanne Bowdey
Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand. She focuses on topics such as life, religious freedom, media and entertainment, sexuality, education, and other issues that affect the institutions of marriage and family. 

For Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the season of goodwill has its limits. As his chamber flies back to tie up loose ends before Christmas, the Democrat has one thing on his to-do list: stop Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). In his post-turkey Dear Colleague letter, the Senate leader outlined a number of December priorities, including combatting the supposedly “extreme and unprecedented obstruction by a single Republican Senator” — which he claims has “eroded centuries of Senate norms.” Funny, critics argue, but isn’t that what Schumer’s party is threatening to do?

Annoyed by Tuberville’s nine-month hold on military promotions — and too lazy to vote on each nominee individually — Senate Democrats have decided to take their usual way out: blowing up chamber precedent. “The Rules Committee has acted on a resolution that would allow the Senate to quickly confirm the more than 350 military nominations being blocked by Senator Tuberville,” Schumer’s letter explained. “In the coming weeks, I will bring this resolution to the floor so we can swiftly confirm the hundreds of highly qualified and dedicated military leaders being held up by Senator Tuberville before the end of the year.”

While Joe Biden’s party claims this would just be a small exception to longstanding rules, Republicans insist that’s not the case. Before Congress recessed for Thanksgiving, Alabama’s other senator, Katie Britt, warned, “This so-called ‘temporary’ rule change would forever damage the institution of the Senate. The action taken … by my Democratic colleagues on the Senate Rules Committee is an ill-advised erosion of the institution of the Senate and the core Constitutional role the chamber should play in providing appropriate advice and consent. Fundamentally changing the rules of this institution,” she argued, “even temporarily, sets a dangerous precedent that undermines our nation’s tried-and-true system of checks and balances.”

“Let’s face reality,” Britt said. “When Democrats are in the majority, they’re happy to throw the minority party’s rights down the drain to achieve their short-term partisan agenda; yet when Democrats are in the minority they could never cede these same rights.”

Of course, the big wrench in Schumer’s plans is that he’ll need nine Republicans’ help to burn down the rules. That, Tuberville shook his head, would be sheer insanity. “I can’t imagine nine Republicans siding with the Democrats,” he told a group of home-state reporters on a phone call before the holiday. “Number one, [they’d have to vote] against pro-life and [for] executive overreach. And then, [why would they side] with Democrats for anything?” he wanted to know. “Because they don’t side with us for anything. I am doing what’s right for people of Alabama and the American people. Hopefully, my Republican colleagues stick with me on that,” Tuberville said.

And while the GOP’s social liberals — Mitt Romney (Utah), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Todd Young (Ind.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), and others — have publicly pounded the coach for his pro-life conviction, 15 members have vowed to stand with Tuberville: Senators Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Britt, Ted Budd (N.C.), John Cornyn (Texas), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Bill Hagerty (Tenn.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), James Lankford (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Roger Marshall (Kan.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Eric Schmitt (Mo.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), and J.D. Vance (Ohio).

Four of those Republicans (Budd, Schmitt, Scott, and Tuberville) are part of the team of conferees who will be hashing out the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week. The House-passed bill, as some remember, would solve this entire crisis instantly. Thanks to the chamber’s Republicans, Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) was able to attach an amendment returning the Pentagon to the status quo by rolling back the funding for military abortions that the president instituted last year without the approval of Congress — and in defiance of longstanding law.

“To get the point across that this has to end, [we have language] in our version of the NDAA,” Rep. Mark Alford, another conferee, told “Washington Watch” host Tony Perkins Monday afternoon. “It’ll be interesting to see what the Senate does with that. We’re anticipating they try to strip that out, but we are going to be fighting … to end the abortion travel, because … it’s basically paying for the facilitation of an abortion, which is wrong.”

Perkins, who has called the issue a “red-line for pro-lifers” agreed, pointing out that Tuberville isn’t the problem here. The president is. “This was a unilateral change by the Biden administration. And, as you said, Senator Tuberville is taking a heroic stand — protecting not just the unborn, but the rule of law. Two very, very important aspects of our society.”

And frankly, Alford insisted, this radical agenda shouldn’t ever be carried out on the backs of American taxpayers. “No matter where you stand on abortion,” he said, “… that doesn’t matter. The taxpayer should not be paying to reimburse travel expenses or housing expenses so someone can go get an abortion in another state.”

While the House tries to end the promotion standoff with the NDAA, there are still 33 GOP senators who haven’t confirmed where they stand if Schumer holds a floor vote to change the Senate rules — a promise he could fulfill as early as December 1. The idea that any of those 33, let alone nine, would be pack mules for Biden’s extreme abortion agenda is unfathomable to experts like Family Research Council’s Quena Gonzalez.

“By standing strong for nine months, Senator Tuberville has succeeded in drawing attention to the Biden Pentagon’s unlawful abortion policy. Courage begets courage, and a growing number of senators are vocally supporting his protest, like Senators Rubio, Vance, Marshall, and Lee, who even went to the Senate floor to give Tuberville a break when fellow Republicans took to the floor to try to force him to capitulate. But, as senators move into an election year, some pro-lifers in the GOP may be getting nervous.”

“Now, more than ever,” Gonzalez urged, “Americans need to make their voice heard. They can ask their Republican senators if they publicly oppose the Democrats’ attempt to do an end-run around Tuberville in support of President Biden’s radical military abortion policy — and they can ask their Democrat senators whether or not they’re going to stand for the rule of law or make a radical Senate rule change to support the administration’s lawless policy.”

Meanwhile, Tuberville’s not easily dissuaded. “There are things we can do to possibly get [a policy change] across the goal line. We are going to have to have some help from a lot of people to get this done.” But at the end of the day, he argued, “This is too important not to try…”

This article appeared originally here.

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