The Senate Rules Committee will vote next Tuesday on a resolution that may allow most of the military promotions being blocked by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) to advance to a floor vote.

Under Senate rules, it would take 60 votes to advance the measure to a final vote, so Democrats would need help from Senate Republicans and Independents to override Tuberville’s holds. If the resolution passes, the Senate could approve hundreds of military promotions with a simple majority vote, bypassing the hold Tuberville has put on the process for most of the year.

The Defense Department does not comment on pending legislation, but it continues to urge that pending military nominations be confirmed quickly, a defense official told Task & Purpose on Tuesday.

Since February, Tuberville has prevented the Senate from using a routine procedure to confirm the promotions of general and flag officers en masse. His blockade is meant to protest a Defense Department policy that covers the travel expenses of service members who need to go out of state for reproductive care, including abortions.

Tuberville has said he wants the Senate to vote on each promotion individually, but a Congressional Research Service report from August estimated that it would take 700 hours to vote on the 273 military promotions that Tuberville was blocking at the time.

Last week, Tuberville individually objected to 61 seperate nominations by Sens. Dan Sullivan and Joni Ernst on the Senate floor.

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The number of promotions put in limbo because of Tuberville’s holds is now 452, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters on Tuesday.

“Some of the positions that are stalled for confirmation include the 5th Fleet Commander, the deputy 5th Fleet commander, the defense attaché to Israel, and the list goes on,” Singh said during a Pentagon news briefing. “As we’ve said before, these holds have a direct effect on our military readiness, our national security, and our military families.”

Now the Senate Rules Committee is expected to hold a vote on Nov. 14 that could allow the Senate to bypass Tuberville’s blockade.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee, recently announced next week’s vote on the resolution, which is authored by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee

The resolution would allow lawmakers to vote on one all-encompassing group or several batches of military promotions that have already been advanced by the Senate Armed Services Committee, with the exception of nominees to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and combatant commanders. Those general and flag officers would be voted on individually.

“Sen. Tuberville refuses to heed the warnings of our top military officials,” Klobuchar said in a statement on Monday. “He refuses to even cooperate with members of his own party who have pleaded with him to lift this hold. This vote in the Rules Committee will allow us to finally move forward with military confirmations, filling critical positions and protecting our military readiness.”

It’s unclear whether enough Republicans and independents would vote in favor of the resolution to reach the 60-vote threshold. 

However, fellow Republican senators openly challenged Tuberville on Nov. 1 by asking for “unanimous consent” to approve the promotions of 61 officers. Tuberville objected each time, preventing any votes.

News of next week’s vote comes as Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) held a meeting on Tuesday with Tuberville and other Republican lawmakers to discuss how to resolve Tuberville’s holds on military promotions.

Sen Rick. Scott (R-Fla.) told The Hill prior to Tuesday’s meeting that he believed it would be a mistake for Senate Republicans to support Reed’s resolution.

“I support Tommy,” Scott told The Hill. “We ought to respect that a person has a different position, and actually I support his position. I think what the Biden administration did with regard to the abortion policy is not in compliance with the law.”

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