Senate confirms remaining top officials, ends Tuberville protest


The Senate on Tuesday confirmed nearly a dozen military officers to four-star positions, ending a nearly yearlong blockade of promotions for top generals and admirals imposed by Sen. Tommy Tuberville.

In a last-minute change of course, Tuberville, an Alabama Republican who had been protesting a Pentagon abortion policy, agreed to drop his objections to the promotions. That allowed the officials to be quickly confirmed by unanimous consent and allowed the senators to close an important issue that stood between them and the vacation.

“These 11 flag officers have now been approved, joining the rest of their colleagues,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said on the Senate floor. “That's good news.”

Later Tuesday night, the Senate also voted by voice to approve a bill extending the Federal Aviation Administration's authorization through early March, giving Congress time to continue working on a five-year extension to improve air travel and security while upgrading airport infrastructure.

Tuberville had been delaying the promotions of top military officers to protest a Pentagon policy that guaranteed that service members who had to travel long distances to obtain an abortion or other reproductive health care services would receive time off and cover their living expenses. journey. The Department of Defense adopted this policy after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, creating a patchwork of abortion laws across the country.

Tuberville had long insisted that the Pentagon would have to reverse the policy for him to relent. But under pressure from other Republicans, he agreed this month to allow most of the promotions to go ahead, and the Senate quickly confirmed more than 440 service members to senior positions as a bloc. Under that agreement, Mr. Tuberville had continued to oppose the promotions of the 11 top generals and admirals pending before the Senate.

The list of four-star officers confirmed Tuesday included the heads of major combatant commands. Among them were Air Force Lt. Gen. Gregory M. Guillot, who will lead U.S. Northern Command; Lt. Gen. Timothy D. Haugh of the Air Force, who will take charge of U.S. Cyber ​​Command; and Lieutenant General Stephen N. Whiting of the Space Force, who will be head of the United States Space Command.

The Senate also confirmed officers to serve as deputy chiefs of staff for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Space Operations. The Senate had voted this year to confirm the top uniformed officers of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, as well as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all of whose promotions had been subject to Mr. Tuberville's control.

“It's a really strong group,” Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said in an interview before the vote. Sullivan was one of the top Republicans who pressured Tuberville to drop his objections in recent weeks.

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