President Biden criticized Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) long-running hold on military promotions due to the Pentagon’s abortion policy, stating that it is both “bizarre” and a threat to U.S. security. Biden made these remarks during a joint news conference with the Finnish president in Helsinki when asked if he would be willing to discuss the hold with Tuberville. He mentioned that he would be open to a conversation if there was a possibility of Tuberville changing his position, adding that the Republican Party should take action to address the issue. Tuberville has prevented the Senate from approving over 250 military promotions since March in protest of the Defense Department’s policy to reimburse service members for abortion-related travel expenses. He argues that this policy violates the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions. Tuberville’s hold has caused concern among White House officials, current and former Defense officials, and congressional colleagues due to its impact on key military leadership positions and national security. Biden described the situation as “bizarre” and “totally irresponsible,” emphasizing the need for the mainstream Republican Party to take a stance against Tuberville’s actions.
House lawmakers are also expected to vote on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act this week, which aims to reverse the Pentagon’s abortion policy.