Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Dan Sullivan Wants to Make an End Run around Tuberville

The blockade by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is holding up numerous military promotions, which is really angering many senators. There are even vacancies among the Joint Chiefs at a time when the U.S. is playing a role in two wars, one in Ukraine and one in Israel. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) has had enough of Tuberville's antics and is circulating cloture petitions for the confirmation of Adm. Lisa Franchetti to lead the Navy and Gen. David Allvin to lead the Air Force. If Sullivan can get 16 signatures on each petition, he can force a vote on the two confirmations. There is no doubt at all that if votes were held, both appointments would be confirmed.

Sullivan's gambit is putting Democrats in a tough position. Chuck Schumer is opposed to picking off individual high-ranking service members and ramming them through because that would leave numerous lower-grade positions unfilled. Schumer wants to break the back of Tuberville's opposition, which would require the entire Senate to act. Unlike a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-type filibuster, Tuberville doesn't have to stand on the Senate floor all day talking until he drops. Sullivan's point is that the top positions are open with two wars going on and they must be filled right now, even if some lieutenant colonels and others are left in limbo.

What Schumer is hoping for is that nine Republican Senators will join with all the Democrats and change the Senate rules, making it impossible for one senator to gum up the works. But so far, no group of nine Republicans has been willing to do that. When your party is in the minority, it tends to like rules that allow a small number of members to bring the entire chamber to a standstill. (V)

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