Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Democrats Did Bail Tuberville Out, However

Well, the Democrats sort of bailed Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) out. As we noted yesterday, the Senator was working on an end-run around Chuck Schumer to install a new Marine Corps commandant. Schumer and the Democrats clearly did not want to be the obstacle that kept that from happening, and so the Majority Leader cued up an end run around Tuberville's end run. That would basically be a double reverse, to use language the Senator is familiar with.

Specifically, the Senate considered and approved the nomination of Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown to be the new Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 83-11. And in case you are wondering, Tuberville was one of the 11 "nay" votes. Tomorrow, the Senate will consider and vote on Gen. Randy George and Gen. Eric Smith to lead the Army and the Marines, respectively. Presumably the vote tally will be similar.

Tuberville will still maintain his hold on the other 300 or so officers awaiting confirmation, but with considerably less pressure to fold (hence the headline). That said, Schumer & Co. decided it was better to act than to react, since their hand was about to be forced anyhow. This also means that the three most important posts will be filled, even if hundreds of other officers are left to twist in the wind.

Exactly when this little logjam gets resolved is anyone's guess. Tuberville has dug in, the policy he's cranky about isn't going anywhere, and it would take 700 hours (per estimates from the Secretary of the Senate) to work through the whole backlog using normal order. Maybe the Pentagon should announce that the Senator has won, and they are changing the policy. Then, after he lifts his hold and all the promotions get approved, they could announce "Oops! Turns out we weren't legally able to do that. Sorry!" That would be dirty pool, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and surely "Coach" knows that trick plays are a part of the game. (Z)

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