On CNN last night, Sen. Tim Kaine discussed Senator Tommy Tuberville (aka, the stupidest member of the U.S. Senate)’s outrageous hold on military promotions. See below for video and highlights of Sen. Kaine’s comments.
“This is unprecedented. Senator Tuberville has a right not to like a Pentagon policy, but he’s been given the opportunity to change it. We’re on the Armed Services Committee together, he was given a vote in the Armed Services Committee to change the policy – he failed, he couldn’t convince his colleagues to go along with him when we had the bill on the floor of the Senate. We said we’ll give you a vote on the floor and he refused to even ask for a vote, because he knew he would lose both Democratic and Republican votes. He shouldn’t take out his inability to persuade his colleagues of his position, he shouldn’t take that out on hundreds of military officers who are awaiting promotion, who are trying to move their families across the country, who want to enroll their kids in school at the beginning of the school year. This is hurting our military families and it’s hurting our nation’s readiness. Three of our services now do not have confirmed service chiefs. It’s time for the Republican minority in the Senate to quit enabling Tommy Tuberville and tell him to step aside and let’s approve these military nominations and keep our nation safe.”
“It’s a message for Senator McConnell and all the Republican
colleagues. This would not be tolerated on the Democratic side. If I was trying to do this on the Democratic side, the leader would lock me in the office and make it increasingly painful for me until I agreed to submit. And so what we need Tommy to do is back off of this. But he’s not going to do it on his own; it’s going to take Senator McConnell and others forcing him to step aside…Why would he want to hurt the military over this?”
“The policy that Senator Tuberville is complaining about
is a military policy that says if a woman service member is posted in an area where abortion is now illegal after Dobbs and decides to terminate a pregnancy, the military will pay for her to travel to a place where she can terminate the pregnancy at her own cost. But they’ll allow her to travel pay for travel expenses…We do this for women in the federal prison system if they’re impregnated and need to terminate a pregnancy, we pay for their travel. We do it for women Peace Corps volunteers, if they live in countries where they can’t terminate a pregnancy legally, we will pay for them to travel to the United States so they can make their own health care decisions. Coach Tuberville wants the women who have volunteered to serve our military to have fewer rights than women prisoners and Peace Corps volunteers. His position is outrageous, he’s entitled to it, but when he can’t convince his colleagues he should back off.”
“To vote on 300 non-controversial nominations with Coach Senator Tuberville demanding maximum time on each could take us through the end of the year. The other offer some have made is why don’t you pick some of the top people like the service Chiefs and vote on them and then just let Senate Senator Tuberville punish all those down the ranks? That’s not the way the military operates. Officers say officers eat last. You don’t punish the people down the ranks to advantage the people up the ranks. We need to confirm these people who have spent their career sacrificing for the country. It’s the Republicans’ problem to solve; they have to get Senator Tuberville to back off this unpatriotic effort, which is clearly being cheered by our enemies now as they watch this.”
Finally, on President Biden’s approval ratings: “President Biden has done a great job as president – 13 1/2 million new jobs, manufacturing back, inflation reducing every day, strategies like helping seniors better afford prescription drugs. Clearly those of us who…have been part of these accomplishments, we’ve got to get out and we’ve got to sell much stronger. I still believe we’re in kind of a post-COVID hangover, where people are a little bit reluctant to get their hopes up with some of the positive things that are going on. So look, President Biden’s accomplishments have been strong, we’ve got to get out there and sell them. I feel like the time between now and November of 2024 is going to be one accomplishment after the next on the Democratic side and one legal trial and tribulation after the next for [former] President Trump…I thought the president’s speech on Labor Day was great, talking about when President Trump was in office, infrastructure week was a punch line, now infrastructure is a headline because America’s rebuilding infrastructure again in a major way, probably the most major way since the Eisenhower Administration. They are selling and we Democrats in Congress and Democratic Governors have to do that as well.”