Senate confirms top military brass after months-long blockade by GOP Sen. Tuberville

The Senate unanimously confirmed 11 top-ranking military officers late Tuesday, ending a months-long blockade staged by a single Republican, Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Without debate, the Senate swiftly confirmed the military officials, including four-star generals, whose promotions and family livelihoods had been held up by the GOP senator protesting the Defense Department's policy on abortion.

"That's good news," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said afterward.

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Schumer said other nominees had also been confirmed as the Senate is working to wrap up its work before a holiday recess.

Confirming the 11 remaining high-ranking armed services nominees was a quiet end to Tuberville's unusual effort after the senator faced pressure from all sides to relent. Critics said his stance, which had left key positions unfilled, threatened national security and left military families with an uncertain path forward.

Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Senate unanimously approved 11 top-ranking military officers after a months-long political blockade. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

It came after the Senate two weeks ago suddenly approved about 425 military promotions once Tuberville stood down.

In a brief comment as he exited the Capitol, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell sounded a similar note, saying the confirmations were "good news."

Tuberville was blocking the nominations in opposition to Pentagon rules that allow travel reimbursement when a service member has to go out of state to get an abortion or other reproductive care.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., attends the House and Senate committee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The Biden administration had instituted the new rules after the Supreme Court overturned the nationwide right to an abortion, and some states have limited or banned the procedure.

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Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the only Vietnam veteran currently in the Senate, said he spoke with Tuberville on Tuesday to urge him to move on from placing the holds.

In a short speech afterward, Carper saluted the military personnel and apologized for what had happened. "This sad chapter has come to an end," he said.