The media outlet Punchbowl News reported Thursday on a plan getting unveiled by Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) that, if approved, would provide military officers affected by recent actions of Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) with back pay. Tuberville held up the orderly approval by the Senate of what became hundreds of military nominees over complaints about support made available by the Defense Department for personnel seeking an abortion.
Just in recent days, Tuberville finally stepped aside from blocking the progression of most of the affected nominations. The Senate had been advancing a plan that would have facilitated the swift confirmation of the affected military nominees through a new procedural approach. Throughout the blockade from Tuberville, concerned observers frequently pointed to impacts on military families whose plans for the near future were upended while Tuberville blocked personnel advancement plans. Responsibilities associated with positions left without Senate-confirmed leadership were fulfilled, generally, on an acting — essentially meaning temporary — basis, forcing another area of personnel realignment.
The bill, as proposed, mandates that covered military officers be provided “pay and allowances at the rates or in the amounts payable for the pay grade associated with the appointment of the individual.” The retroactive pay would begin in each case “30 days after the date on which the appointment of the individual was placed on the Executive Calendar of the Senate,” obviously assuming that such a period would have been a more reasonable expectation for timelines on these figures’ confirmations.
The bill also specifies that the earlier date be used for determining the “seniority of the individual in the grade or rank associated with the appointment.” Tuberville’s crusade produced little, with the contested travel support for certain military personnel seeking an abortion still available. Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, access to abortion in certain states with GOP leadership became more difficult, potentially affecting military personnel there.