Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., is not backing down in his efforts to overturn the Pentagon’s policy of subsidizing abortions for members of the military by holding up the promotions of high-ranking military officers.

“I’ve continued to reiterate my stance and my position over the last almost four months now about my opposition to this policy,” Tuberville said on the Senate floor Wednesday, following critical remarks from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

“Now, the burden is not on me to pass legislation to stop this illegal policy,” he added. “The burden is on the administration. The burden is on the administration to stop breaking the law.”

Tuberville has spent months fighting against the Defense Department’s agenda by blocking the Senate’s approval of nearly 200 promotions for military generals and flag officers. 

The Defense Department issued its policy Feb. 16, providing three weeks of taxpayer-funded paid leave and reimbursement of travel expenses for military personnel and dependents who are seeking an abortion. An estimate from Rand Corp. predicts the number of abortions would skyrocket from 20 to more than 4,000 each year. 

“And so let me just say this one more time, because I keep getting asked the same question over and over again, I will keep my hold,” Tuberville said. “I will keep it on until the Pentagon follows the law or changes the law. It’s that simple. Those are the two conditions that would get me to drop the hold. So until these conditions are met, I object.”

Tuberville’s comments follow those of Warren, who criticized the Alabama senator’s actions.

“Mr. President, several weeks ago I came down to the Senate floor to ask the senator from Alabama to reconsider his unprecedented action of blocking hundreds of promotions earned by our men and women in uniform,” Warren said on the Senate floor. “He refused, so I am here to ask again.”

Warren added later in her speech, “The senator from Alabama’s actions are not just the usual back and forth in Washington. His holds pose a grave threat to our national security and our military readiness. They actively hurt our ability to respond quickly to threats around the world. That is not my conclusion. That is the conclusion of the secretary of Defense.”

Earlier this month, more than 3,000 veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces expressed their support for Tuberville and called on the Pentagon to rescind its abortion policy, The Daily Signal first reported. Four members of Congress joined state lawmakers, national leaders, and thousands of Americans who have served their country in the military. 

“The undersigned stand united in condemning this policy,” they wrote in the letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “This policy is not just illegal, it shamefully politicizes the military, circumvents the authority of Congress, and exceeds the authority of the Department of Defense.” 

The letter includes 593 individual names—including Reps. Eli Crane, R-Ariz.; Andrew Clyde, R-Ga.; Ronny Jackson, R-Texas; and Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla.—plus 32 endorsers and partners with the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, which represents the position of over 2,500 military chaplains.

Retired three-star Gen. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president at the Family Research Council, has formerly flatly rejected the idea that Tuberville’s effort is endangering the U.S. military.

“In the military,” Boykin told FRC President Tony Perkins, “you don’t replace somebody until you have a replacement for them, which means the person holding that slot stays there until he has a replacement. This whole thing is more propaganda than anything else.” 

The Daily Signal’s Rob Bluey contributed to this report.

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