Senators from South Dakota and West Virginia want hundreds of military officers to be paid back pay after an Alabama senator stalled their promotions for the majority of the year.
Mike Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota, and Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, introduced the Military Personnel Confirmation Restoration Act of 2023 on Friday.
The bill comes after Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, lifted limits on hundreds of military promotions in protests of a Pentagon abortion policy. The policy gives military personnel time off and travel reimbursement if they seek an abortion in a state where it is still allowed.
Tuberville announced on Tuesday that he will release all of his holds save for a handful of four-star general nominees.
The men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America should not be negatively impacted by political squabbles.
Rounds, like Tuberville, said in a news release Friday that he disagrees with the Pentagon policy and supports “a member of the Senate’s right to hold any nomination.”
However, he said, “the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America should not be negatively impacted by political squabbles.”
“I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Senator Manchin to do the right thing and provide military officers and their families with the benefits they have earned for their decades of service and sacrifice,” Rounds said in a statement.
Rounds’ news release contained comments from Manchin, who focused on the affected service personnel rather than the abortion policy or senators’ right to block nominations.
“These men and women are true American heroes and the least we can do in Congress is restore the benefits they have earned and deserve,” Manchin said in a statement.
Tuberville is one of the bill’s co-sponsors. Angus King, I-Maine; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York; Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut; and Tim Kaine, D-Virginia are also co-sponsors.