Tuberville: White House would rather ‘burn the Senate down’ than negotiate on military holds

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) said Sunday the White House would rather “burn the Senate down” than negotiate on his blockade of more than 360 military promotions to protest the Pentagon’s new abortion policy.

“It’s typical of this place. This administration would rather burn the Senate down, and that’s what would happen … If you change the rules of the Senate then it lasts forever,” Tuberville told CNN’s Manu Raju on “Inside Politics.” “So they would rather burn down the Senate than negotiate.”

Tuberville’s comments come as Senate Democrats, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and a handful of Republicans look to pursue a rarely used procedural tactic to defeat Tuberville’s blockade as he continues to protest the Department of Defense’s abortion policies.

The tactic involves a standing order resolution that would allow the Senate to move military promotions in a group through the end of 2024, with exceptions for officers nominated to a position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff or to lead a Combatant Command.

The standing order resolution is already receiving pushback from some conservative Senate members, and it would require at least nine Republican votes in order to pass.

The resolution could be introduced this week unless Tuberville drops the holds, sources familiar with internal deliberations told The Hill. It will first move through the Senate Rules Committee.

“If they go around and, without negotiating, change the rules of the Senate, it just goes to show you they want it their way or the highway,” Tuberville said Sunday.

The policy Tuberville is protesting allows for paid leave and travel reimbursement for service members seeking an abortion, which Tuberville argues is a violation of the Hyde Amendment, a rule that prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion.

Tuberville told CNN members of the military told him the holds are not impacting readiness, an argument repeatedly made by the White House and Pentagon.

“If I thought this was happening, I wouldn’t be doing this. And I’ve told you that all along. And the people that I trust tell me that it’s not,” Tuberville told CNN.

Tuberville said there has been “no conversation” with the White House about coming to a solution.

“No conversation. Nobody wants to negotiate. You know this is not a negotiating crowd over in the White House,” Tuberville said.

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