Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) is calling for the Senate to change its rules amid Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) continued blockade of over 300 military promotions continues.
“I wish the Senate would change their rules so that one senator doesn’t have that kind of power, so that we actually would have a democracy where you have a fair vote,” Smith said of the upper chamber of Congress in an interview on CNN.
He added that it’s clear to him that Tuberville doesn’t believe in democracy.
“He doesn’t believe in the system of government that we’ve set up,” Smith argued. “You have a vote, you lose you move on.”
Smith, who served as a state senator in Washington in the 1990s, called the House Freedom Caucus and Tuberville’s approach to governance “incredibly destructive.”
“What he and the Freedom Caucus believe is ‘if you don’t get what you want, do as much damage as you possibly can’ to the government,” he said.
“In this case, it’s incredibly destructive to the defense of this country, to the national security of this country, to not be able to have top leaders appointed to their position nearly undermines our ability to protect this country bottom line, Smith added.
Tuberville began his blockade in April in protest of a Pentagon abortion policy enacted late last year. The policy, which covers travel expenses for abortion care, hit the six-month mark earlier this week.
Smith acknowledged that Tuberville doesn’t support the travel policy, but said it isn’t an excuse for what he has done.
“Joe Biden won. Okay. Joe Biden put that policy in place,” Smith said. “If Senator Tuberville doesn’t like that, well go support a Republican candidate for president next year, go to the ballot box and make your case.”
“But, to undermine the ability of our country to defend itself just because you didn’t get your way on one piece of policy is destructive and wrong,” he argued.
The Senate returned from a monthlong recess on Tuesday and the pressure to do something about the holds has mounted. Military secretaries — including Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Army Secretary Christine Wormuth — have all criticized the Alabama senator this week, and the Pentagon warned his tactic could bring the Senate to a complete halt.
Tuberville has also faced strong criticism from Alabama voters, Democrats and the White House. GOP leaders in Congress have tried to negotiate with him and have been unsuccessful thus far.
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