As he continues to hold on to his stance on the Department of Defense’s policy regarding abortion travel reimbursement, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is painting a picture of just how much President Joe Biden wants to keep the DoD’s policy. According to him, the president would prefer to “burn the Senate down” rather than negotiate with him over his hold on Senate approval for military promotions en masse. 

This policy, implemented by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin following the Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe v. Wade, has become a focal point of contention within the Republican Party. Senator Tuberville’s decision to hold Senate approval for military promotions en masse since February has sparked a heated debate among conservatives nationwide.

During a CNN interview, Tuberville asserted, “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. So they would rather burn down the Senate than negotiate.”

At the heart of Tuberville’s hold is his demand that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reverse the DoD’s policy implemented after the Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe v. Wade, which allows military personnel to be reimbursed for travel out of state for abortions. However, Tuberville contends that this policy politicizes the military and effectively funds abortions, a stance that is held by many Republicans.

Despite Democratic claims that his hold on military promotions is affecting military readiness amid the Israel-Hamas war and the Ukraine war, Tuberville stands firm, stating, “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.”

Within the Republican Party, Tuberville’s stance has led to a division of opinions. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a GOP presidential candidate, has expressed her disagreement with Tuberville’s persistent hold. 

In an interview with CNN last month, she stated that the Department of Defense should never have implemented the policy and pledged to end it if elected president. “We don’t need to be using military families as political pawns. That’s a mistake. The military members and families, they sacrifice enough. They don’t need to be a pawn in Congress,” she added.

While there are more like Haley criticizing Tuberville’s strategy, he has the support of some Republicans, such as Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who praised the blockade. In a tweet last month, Lee argued that more senators should follow Tuberville’s lead and defend his stance, particularly those who advocate for the sanctity of life and the rule of law.