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Rounds, Manchin seek back pay for military officers affected by Tuberville holds

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Rounds, Manchin seek back pay for military officers affected by Tuberville holds

Dec 08, 2023 | 12:25 pm ET
By Searchlight staff
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Rounds, Manchin seek back pay for military officers affected by Tuberville holds
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Senate Armed Services Committee members Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, talk during the confirmation hearing for U.S. Army General Christopher Cavoli in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on May 26, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senators from South Dakota and West Virginia want hundreds of military officers to receive back pay after an Alabama senator held up their promotions for most of the year.

Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican, and Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, announced Friday the introduction of the Military Personnel Confirmation Restoration Act of 2023.

The bill comes after Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, ended holds he had placed on hundreds of military promotions in protest of a Pentagon abortion policy. The policy allows armed services members time off and travel reimbursement if they seek an abortion in a state where it remains legal.

On Tuesday, Tuberville said he would lift all of his holds except 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.

– Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota

Rounds said Friday in a news release that he, like Tuberville, disagrees with the Pentagon policy and supports “a member of the Senate’s right to hold any nomination.”

But, Rounds added, “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.

The press release from Rounds included comments from Manchin, who focused on the affected service members and did not address the abortion policy or the right of senators to hold up 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.

The bill co-sponsors include Tuberville. Other co-sponsors are Angus King, I-Maine; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York; Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut; and Tim Kaine, D-Virginia.