Life on the Line in Senate

Tuberville Continues the Fight for Life While Other Senators Fade

For ten months, Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has used a procedural tool to hold the Biden administration accountable for their illegal implementation of taxpayer-funded abortion. Not only has his blockade on military promotions caught the attention of Americans, but it has unexpectedly brought to light the lack of willingness by a handful of Republican Senators to fight for pro-life convictions. 

Even before last year’s Pentagon policy allowing military service members and their families reimbursement for abortion travel was announced, Sen. Tuberville warned Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that he would “hold their most senior nominees if they broke the law.” Despite current law prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion, the Secretary issued a memo that said the Defense Department would reimburse abortion travel expenses with our tax dollars. Senator Tuberville has kept his word and repeatedly objected to these nominations being passed by unanimous consent (i.e. no vote in the Senate.)

Not every self-described pro-life Senator is willing to stand up for life by opposing this policy. Now that there are 450 servicemen in the queue waiting for promotions, some of the more “squishy” Republicans are starting to cave. Last week, five Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Republicans went to the Senate floor to criticize Sen. Tuberville. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Todd Young (R-IN) attacked him for hours without offering a single pro-life solution.

Additionally, SASC Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have introduced legislation (S.Res. 444) to suspend the current Senate rules to allow members to circumvent Sen. Tuberville’s holds by conducting floor votes on nominees en bloc. They would need nine Republicans to vote with them to pass this bill. In doing so, Republicans would give up one of the powers of the minority as well as some of their Congressional duty to hold the branches of the federal government accountable for their actions. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) summed it up well:

Even though it doesn’t formally create a precedent, it does create a precedent at a time when we’ve given up so much. Part of it is because Congress has ceded authority, and part of it is congressional dysfunction has allowed the executive branch to do whatever they want.

The Senate GOP met on Tuesday to hash out a path forward on Sen. Tuberville’s holds. He sent a memo around that night offering four options for resolving the issue: the Pentagon’s complete nullification of this policy, language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to eliminate the policy, allowing the use of private funds rather than public funds for abortion travel, and holding individual votes on military promotions rather than en bloc. As expected, neither Democrats nor the five Republicans like any of these ideas.

Even though the Biden administration isn’t going to budge on their abortion policies, one of the easiest and quickest paths forward would be the use of the NDAA like the Senator used in his memo. During the summer, the House-passed NDAA (H.R. 2670) included language to eliminate this pro-abortion policy. Shortly after, the Senate passed its version of the NDAA that was lacking this language. Now, members from both chambers will come together to work out all the differences between the two versions. House leadership has already named their conferees, but the Senate has yet to release names. Traditionally, most or all the SASC members will be appointed meaning Sen. Tuberville would have the opportunity to fight for the nullification of taxpayer-funded abortion in the military.

Heritage Foundation recently released a video using Sen. Ernst’s words against her. She says, “I do not respect men who do not honor their word.” Heritage’s Vice President of Government Relations Eric Teetsel responds:

I feel that way too. And like so many other pro-life Americans, I’m tired of Republican politicians who tell me they will fight for my values on the campaign trail and then go to Washington and do just the opposite.

Under the Trump administration, we experienced many pro-life wins like the elimination of abortion funding overseas, prohibiting abortion providers from receiving federal funding, conscience protections for medical professionals, and the placement of three pro-life justices on the Supreme Court. Now we are seeing a Democrat White House and Senate destroy that progress. GOP Congressmen and Senators who will not fight for strong pro-life convictions against the most radical pro-abortion Administration are not champions of women and their babies. They are not fighting for the future of their districts or states.

Sen. Tuberville says that he is still “dug in” and “standing up for the unborn.” We applaud his principled stance and bold strategy. He has personally drafted an article in the upcoming December Eagle Forum Report which you can sign up for here. Eagle Forum has asked all Republican Senators for their support of Sen. Tuberville and opposition to S. Res. 444. If your Senator is chosen as a conferee to finalize the NDAA, watch for an email on how to encourage them to include pro-life language.

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