The Alabama senator responsible for a blockade on military confirmations said he was working Tuesday to finally approve the Marine Corps' No. 2 leader as the commandant, Gen. Eric Smith, remained hospitalized following a medical emergency Sunday.
The move by Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville comes a day after the Marines announced that a three-star officer further down the line of succession would step into Smith's role due to a leadership vacuum at the very top of the service. The assistant commandant position has remained vacant because Tuberville has stopped the Senate from approving military promotions and confirmations — outside of some top officers — for most of the year.
The Senate blockade became a major issue after Smith was hospitalized suddenly on Sunday evening and the service had no confirmed assistant commandant to take his place. The Marine Corps provided no update on Smith's condition Tuesday, despite news reports that he had suffered a heart attack and statements from emergency responders of a cardiac arrest incident near his residence.
Read Next: Months Before Maine Mass Shooting, Gunman Was Prohibited from Handling Military Weapons by Army Reserve
While Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney was nominated to be assistant commandant of the Marines in July, the Senate has been unable to confirm him because Tuberville is single-handedly holding up all general and admiral promotions in protest of the Pentagon's…