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Tuberville, Bennet spar over DoD hold, Space Command

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville followed through Wednesday with his pledge to hold all U.S. Department of Defense general and flag officer nominations in protesting  the department’s new policy of funding travel and paid time off for service members and their dependents seeking an abortion.

His move also brought the dispute over relocating Space Command to the Senate floor.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) sparred with Tuberville (R-Auburn) over the issue of relocating Space Command headquarters, linking it to Alabama’s anti-abortion laws and a threat to the nation’s military readiness.

Tuberville responded with reports from the General Accounting Office ranking Redstone Arsenal as the top site.

“The decision to put SPACECOM in Huntsville was based on facts — and facts alone — and evidence of what’s best for the military and for the country and national defense,” he said. “That decision was then reconfirmed by multiple independent studies. The DoD Inspector General and the GAO confirmed that Huntsville was the number one location for SPACECOM — based on things like workforce, existing infrastructure, education, and the cost of living.

“Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville is far and away the best place for SPACECOM. This is not my opinion, it’s fact. It’s fact from several studies. Attempts to change that with progressive talking points are shameful and purely political. It’s really a shame.”

Tuberville originally spoke to object to a motion to approve a batch of DoD nominations by unanimous consent, instead requiring the Senate to approve the nominees by regular order.

“I’m holding DoD nominations because the Secretary of Defense is trying to push through a massive expansion of taxpayer-subsidized abortions — without going through this body. Without going through Congress,” Tuberville said. “Three months ago, I informed Secretary Austin that if he tried to turn the DoD into an abortion travel agency, I would place a hold on all civilian, flag, and general officer nominees. Other than a couple of calls to my staff to ask whether I was serious, the DoD leadership has yet to call me directly and justify this action.

“In fact, they have not explained this decision to Congress, despite multiple letters — more than a dozen — from my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee.”

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