By Morgan Rimmer, CNN
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took procedural steps on Tuesday to advance three top military nominees whose confirmations have been delayed for months due to Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s holds.
Specifically, he filed cloture on the nominations of Adm. Lisa Franchetti to be chief of Naval Operations, Gen. David Allvin to be Air Force chief of staff, and Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney to be assistant commandant of the Marine Corps.
The confirmations of Franchetti and Allvin would fill the rest of the vacancies on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Schumer noted that Mahoney’s confirmation has become more urgent since the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. Eric Smith, was hospitalized over the weekend.
“This scary incident involving Gen. Smith shows why it’s supremely risky to play politics with military appointments, as Sen. Tuberville is doing,” said Schumer. “Emergencies happen, and when they do, the chain of command must be able to respond.”
He continued to attack the Alabama Republican’s holds, which have delayed confirmation of hundreds of top Pentagon nominees.
“Every day that Sen. Tuberville continues his blanket holds, our military preparedness is worse off, our military families suffer, our military appointments risk being further ensnared in partisan politics, which is a point of no return we must never cross in the Senate,” said Schumer. “Sen. Tuberville should drop his blanket holds at once, and in the meantime the Senate will proceed to confirm these nominations that should have been swiftly approved long ago, as has been the custom in the Senate for decades.”
Ahead of Schumer’s move, several Senate Republicans had threatened to take a rare procedural step to force votes on these nominees. Similar threats led to three other top nominees’ confirmation in September, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Schumer told Democrats during their lunch on earlier Tuesday that he would file cloture on the nominees, a Senate source familiar had told CNN.
Tuberville has been holding up military promotions since February because of a Department of Defense policy that reimburses travel costs for military members requiring reproductive care outside of the state in which they are stationed. The department enacted the policy after the reversal of Roe v. Wade last year overturned the constitutional right to an abortion and left the issue to individual states.
Under the hold, the Senate can still confirm individual promotions, which the body has done for a few, recent high-profile appointments, but cannot approve hundreds of promotions at once as a time-saving measure, meaning each confirmation takes up valuable floor time.
This headline and story have been updated with additional developments.
CNN’s Sam Fossum and Manu Raju contributed to this report.
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