Tuberville Holds the Line
Biden’s DOD is violating the law, and the senator from Alabama is the only one standing in his way.
Back in September, just a few months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the question of abortion law to the states, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced a new rule change.
The new rule change, which the Biden administration touted, effectively would make abortion available — at taxpayer expense — for any veteran irrespective of any state’s laws that may ban or severely limit abortion.
“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its medical regulations to remove the exclusion on abortion counseling and establish exceptions to the exclusion on abortions in the medical benefits package for veterans who receive care set forth in that package, and to remove the exclusion on abortion counseling and expand the exceptions to the exclusion on abortions for Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) beneficiaries,” reads the Biden administration’s announcement of the rule change.
Republicans were quick to object. Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville introduced a resolution to prevent the Biden administration from unilaterally imposing a new rule that explicitly reversed the prior rule.
Tuberville argued that taxpayers should not be paying for abortions, calling it illegal prior to a Senate vote in April on a resolution that failed to pass. “We’re going to vote to overturn it because it is illegal, it is wrong, and it abuses taxpayer dollars,” he said. “In September, the VA announced they were going to start performing abortions. The VA had never done abortions before.”
He’s right. “Congress banned abortion at the VA 30 years ago,” the senator explained. “It was unanimous. One of the senators who voted for that bill was Joe Biden. We have never repealed this law. It is still on the books, and the administration needs to follow it. The administration doesn’t get to change the law without a vote in Congress.”
The one Democrat senator to agree with Tuberville and vote with the Republicans was West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who argued that tax dollars aren’t supposed to pay for abortion. “The Hyde Amendment was that protection,” Manchin observed. “It was that buffering that we weren’t forcing your dollars to be used for an abortion that you deeply, deeply disbelieved in.”
Importantly, Manchin further articulated the immediate problem: “If this has to be changed, it should be voted upon. If the legislation that the president wants to do and this administration, then bring it before in a piece of legislation, and let’s go through the process.” Precisely.
But as has repeatedly been the case with the Biden administration, the Rule of Law only matters if it supports Biden’s political agenda. And abortion on demand anywhere and everywhere is the “good Catholic” Biden’s policy position.
Well, following that failed Senate vote, Tuberville could have admitted defeat and moved on. But saving the lives of the preborn is too important. And the former college football coach effectively embraced the famous words of Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones: “I have not yet begun to fight!”
Like an Alabama tick, Tuberville has dug in. Ever since that failed vote, Tuberville has drawn a line in the sand, withholding his vote on all Pentagon appointments, which require a unanimous vote in order to avoid a time-consuming individual vote, until the Biden administration reverses course on its abortion rule.
Tuberville’s action has singlehandedly prevented hundreds of Pentagon nominations from being approved. This has resulted in the headline-grabbing story this week of the U.S. Marine Corps currently being left without a commandant for the first time in 164 years. To be clear, this has not left the Marines without a top officer, despite the impression given by the White House and Leftmedia.
Former Commandant General David Berger has relinquished command to current Acting Commandant General Eric Smith, even though Smith is not officially recognized as the official commandant.
Of course, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could call for an individual vote on Smith, which would likely mean a quick and easy confirmation. But the issue here is all about the politics of abortion for Democrats and the Biden administration. They want to get Tuberville to bend on abortion.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is attempting to use the issue of military readiness and national security to pressure Tuberville into giving up his stand. It enlisted calls from several former and current Pentagon leaders to urge him to end his boycott.
Tuberville’s answer is a resolute no. “I continue to reiterate my stance and my position over the last, almost, four months now, about my opposition to this policy,” he said. “Now, the burden is not on me to pass legislation to stop this illegal policy, the burden is on the administration. The burden is on the administration to stop breaking the law. 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, 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.”
Let the objection continue. This is not only an issue of abortion; it’s also an issue of Rule of Law. And Tuberville is standing on the right side of both of these issues.
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