Senate confirms CQ Brown to Joint Chiefs chairman; Utah Sen. Mike Lee, 9 other Republicans opposed him

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., filed a motion Wednesday to end a blockade on military nominations that Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., has imposed. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

Sept. 23 (UPI) — The U.S. Senate confirmed CQ Brown as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on this week after Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer broke a blockade imposed by Sen. Tommy Tuberville.

Brown was confirmed to the post with a vote of 83-11 with six senators not voting, according to the published roll call. He will replace Gen. Mark Milley and serve as the nation’s top uniformed military officer alongside U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Tuberville’s monthslong blockade remains in place for another 300 military nominees.

Those who voted against Brown’s confirmation included Tuberville as well as Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Braun of Indiana, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Eric Schmitt of Missouri and J.D. Vance of Ohio — all Republicans.

The six senators who did not vote are Republicans, including Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Schumer, D-N.Y., filed a motion Wednesday that ended Tuberville’s deliberate hold on three of President Joe Biden‘s nominations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Senate is also expected to soon confirm Gen. Randy George as Army Chief of Staff and Gen. Eric Smith as Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Tuberville has vowed to block Biden’s nominees over military regulations that allow women in the service to travel from states that don’t allow abortion to states that do so that they can have access to the care they need.

As a result of Tuberville’s blockade on nominations, two out of eight Joint Chiefs of Staff positions have been filled by interim officers for the first time in history.

Schumer said “the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the senior senator from Alabama.”

Schumer said the move was “not a path the vast majority of senators on either side of the aisle want to go down but Sen. Tuberville is forcing us to confront his obstruction head on.”

The U.S. Army is now without a Senate-confirmed uniformed general leading the service, and the U.S. Marines are without a Senate-confirmed uniformed general leading the service for the first time in more than a century.

Austin said the blockade was having a negative effect on the military’s ability to maintain military readiness.

“The failure to confirm our superbly qualified senior uniformed leaders undermines our military readiness,” Austin said in August.

Tuberville responded to Schumer’s move by saying he would not oppose a same-day vote but emphasized that he would want the votes to apply to each nominee individually as opposed to all three at once.

“As long as we go through cloture, as long as we do them individually, not as a group, I’m good with it,” Tuberville said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois told reporters Wednesday ahead of Schumer’s announcement that forcing same-day votes for each promotion one at a time would cost over 100 days on the Senate calendar. Such promotions are usually advanced together by unanimous consent.

“This is not a solution to his challenge,” Durbin said. “It really is going to drag this out at the expense of everything else that needs to be done in the Senate.”

Brown, currently the Air Force Chief of Staff, graduated from Texas Tech University in 1984 with a degree in civil engineering and went on to earn a commission as a second lieutenant through the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

He is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours, including 130 combat hours, according to his official bio. In 2020, CQ Brown made history by becoming the first Black man to serve as the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force.


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