August 02, 2023

Senators Warren, Hirono, Lawmakers Call on McConnell to Help End Reckless Hold on Military Promotions

“It falls to you to act now, for the safety and security of our nation.”

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chair of the Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Personnel, joined her fellow Armed Services Committee members, Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (D-Maine), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) to send a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), urging him to put an end to Senator Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) reckless hold on more than 260 military officer promotions.

“Since February, Senator Tommy Tuberville has been single-handedly blocking the promotion of hundreds of generals and admirals, threatening our national security and the orderly and necessary leadership transitions typical of our professional military, over his disagreement with the DOD’s travel policy,” the lawmakers wrote. “We know you share our concerns about the consequences of this hold on our Armed Services, and as the leader of your conference, we urge you to take stronger action to resolve this situation.”

For months, Senator Tuberville has recklessly held up the promotions of several hundred General and Flag Officers, citing his opposition to the Pentagon’s updated travel regulations for reproductive and abortion care. In June the Senate Armed Services committee defeated a proposal to repeal the policy. These holds pose a grave threat to our national security, our military readiness, and they actively hinder our ability to respond quickly to threats around the world.

“In the coming months, more than half of the current Joint Chiefs are required to vacate their posts, and due to Senator Tuberville’s stonewalling, they’ll do so without a Senate-approved successor in place,” the lawmakers wrote. “During this time of heightened global tensions, failing to fill these critical positions is not only imprudent but risks our national security.”

“As the leader of the Republican Conference, we count on you to hold your colleagues accountable when they recklessly cross boundaries and upend Senatorial order,” the lawmakers wrote. “Senator Tuberville’s continuation of this stalemate is reckless, dangerous, and must end.”

As Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, Senator Warren has been a leader in fighting to reverse Republicans’ reckless and dangerous military nominations holds:

  • On July 26 Senator Warren joined her Democratic colleagues on the Senate floor for the third time to urge Senator Tommy Tuberville to lift his hold on military nominations.
  • On July 21, 2023, at a hearing. Senator Warren closed by urging Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) to lift his hold on military nominations.
  • On July 11, 2023, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., President Biden’s nominee to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to the negative effects Senator Tuberville’s holds on over 250 senior military nominations have on retention across the services and the burden they pose on military families, warning “we will lose talent.”
  • On June 13, 2023, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Eric M. Smith, nominee to be appointed as Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, agreed with Senator Warren in her continued concern about the impact of Senator Tuberville’s blanket hold on senior military nominations on our national security and military readiness.
  • On June 1, 2023, Senator Warren spoke on the floor of the Senate a second time to call out Republicans, led by Senator Tuberville, for blocking the nominations of 221 key senior military officials. According to the Secretary of Defense these holds harm servicemembers and pose grave threats to military readiness and national security.
  • On May 10, 2023, Senator Warren released a letter from Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, highlighting how Senator Tubervillle’s indefinite holds prevent the Senate from advancing 196 Department of Defense military nominees poses a clear risk to military readiness and harms national security.
  • On May 2, 2023, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Warren questioned the Secretary of the Air Force about the risks to national security and military readiness posed by the nominations holds. The Secretary warned about “negative impacts” on military families and military retention. 
  • On April 25, 2023, Senator Warren delivered remarks and asked for 35 unanimous consent requests on the Senate floor, calling for the confirmation of 184 top-level military nominations blocked by Senator Tuberville and Republicans. 
  • On April 7, 2023, Senator Warren sent a letter asking Secretary Austin to detail the national security and military readiness impacts of Senator Tuberville’s blanket nominations hold.