WASHINGTON — Anger over Sen. Tommy Tuberville's blockade of high-ranking military promotions may have hit a boiling point this week, as a handful of fellow Republicans began to publicly pressure the former football coach to spike his nine-month-long stunt.
Calling the blockade a “national security suicide mission,” Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska spent hours on the Senate floor Wednesday night trying to show how it is “hollowing out … our most experienced military officers.” And the saga is also highlighting just how janky the entire system of senatorial advice and consent has become, observers say.
“The Senate confirmation process is broken, and it needs attention and review,” said Valerie Smith Boyd, director of the Center for Presidential Transition at the Partnership for Public Service.
“The Senate needs to rethink the way its whole agenda-setting process works,” said Gregory Koger, a political scientist at the University of Miami. “Do not give this much power to one person, and [create] a much simpler, expedited process for passing legislation and nominations that are low salience.”
Typically, the Senate will quickly confirm dozens or hundreds of military promotions at one time via unanimous consent — unless someone threatens to object.
Right now that someone is Tuberville, an Alabama Republican who has placed what's known as a hold. Vowing to block the promotion of every general or flag officer to the rank of…