Alabama Sen. Tommy Tamperville avoided breaking with his Republican colleagues on his crusade for a military embargo during a vote in the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday — but that may not last much longer as tensions rise.
The Democratic-led committee voted to approve a resolution, 9-7, that would allow the Senate to confirm batches of military nominees for the remainder of Congress's term.
Mr. Tuberville has single-handedly held up about 350 military nominations and promotions this year as part of his effort to protest a Pentagon policy that reimburses service members for travel expenses for abortion care. The policy was enacted after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
All Republicans on the committee, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, voted against the resolution along party lines.
But Mr McConnell hinted at a vote to override Mr Tuberville's months-long military blockade, saying he would only vote against the resolution “at this time”.
“Ultimately, the best path forward for all involved is one that allows us to clean up the nominations and preserve our substantive candidacy on the terrible politics of the Biden administration,” Mr. McConnell said during the meeting.
“Productive talks on this front are ongoing and I think we should allow them to continue,” he added.
By invoking his right to vote to delay nominations or promotions, Mr. Tuberville has caused headaches for the Senate. In order to override him, Democrats would have to override his majority vote in every single nomination or promotion.
As a result, the US is left without military leadership, which several senior military officials and the White House have pointed to as potential security issues.
Mr. Tuberville's actions are unpopular, even among Republicans.
Mr McConnell said Mr Tuberville's response was “not the way to achieve the desired result” and had created “an almost unprecedented situation for the Senate to deal with”.
Now, Senate Democrats have made their first proposal in an attempt to override Mr. Tuberville's objections through the committee's approved resolution. It could go to a vote afterwards if Mr Tuberville does not agree to step down.