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Fact Check: Is Sen. Tuberville's Hold on DoD Nominees 'Unprecedented' As Schumer Claims?

Townhall

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is not known for staying level-headed when his will is impeded by other colleagues in the upper chamber, and he's resorting to his usual hair-on-fire statements as he grows frustrated with Senator Tommy Tuberville's (R-AL) opposition to Biden's Department of Defense nominees. 

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As Rebecca summarized of the situation:

Earlier this month, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) put his plan into action to hold up defense nominees as a result of the Pentagon's "illegal" abortion policy that would provide paid time off for service members and their dependents following an abortion, as well as cover travel expenses. The senator has continued to make headlines throughout this week, as he remains steadfast in his move to defend not just pro-life values, but the law.

Townhall previously reported on the Biden administration's policy that Tuberville is taking a stand against. 

Schumer's response has been more of his usual partisan nonsense. As Townhall pointed out, Tuberville is not actually preventing any Biden nominees from being voted on by the Senate. Biden's defense nominees can still be approved and all his hold does is require that the Senate vote on the nominees by regular order.

CLAIM: Schumer said this week that "blocking military choices is unprecedented—unprecedented" and said such alleged blocking "hasn’t happened before and it could weaken our national security." 

THE FACTS: Over the last three decades, U.S. senators from both parties have placed holds on scores of Department of Defense nominees for a variety of reasons:

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  • In 1992, a Democrat and a Republican placed a hold on promotions and transfers for Navy and Marine officers amid a sexual harassment scandal. 
  • In 1996, Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) placed holds on hundreds of promotions and the commission for the Naval Academy's graduates as a protest against then-Defense Secretary William Perry's refusal to answer questions.
  • In 1997, a few Republican senators held a promotion over jobs at Air Force repair depots, which drew more than 40 retaliatory holds on other promotions from another Republican. 
  • In 2003, Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) placed holds on 200+ promotions to hold the Air Force to its word that more planes would be added to an Air National Guard base in his home state of Idaho. 
  • In 2010, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) held all executive nominees amid a row over Pentagon bidding processes. That same year, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) threatened he'd hold all Pentagon nominations in a quest to get answers about a base closure in Virginia. 
  • In 2020, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said she'd block more than 1,000 promotions in a bid to force the Secretary of Defense to promote Alexander Vindman.
  • And even this year, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) threatened to put a hold on Pentagon nominees because he claimed Colorado was robbed of hosting U.S. Space Command. 
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TOWNHALL'S RATING: Schumer's claim that Sen. Tuberville's hold on DoD nominees is "unprecedented" FALSE.

In fact, it is quite precedented for members of the United States Senate, from both parties, to place holds on a president's Department of Defense nominees. 

What's more, holds have been placed on thousands of nominees before while Tuberville's current hold has so far only affected two civilian nominees — one is getting a vote this week — and 158 officers. And again, Tuberville's hold does not actually prevent Schumer from putting nominees to a vote by regular order. 

Maybe if the Senate Majority leader spent more time holding votes and less time ranting on the Senate floor and firing off angry tweets he could get Biden's nominees confirmed.

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