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Kaine on Senate Floor to Tuberville: Stop Punishing Servicemembers and Their Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, spoke on the Senate floor in objection to U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) reckless blockade of military promotions in protest of a Pentagon policy that grants health leave and travel reimbursement for military personnel who cannot obtain reproductive health care in the state where they are stationed. Kaine’s remarks were part of a series of speeches from Kaine and his colleagues that lasted over five hours to slam Tuberville’s stunt, raise concerns about the impacts on military readiness, and highlight the incredible careers of American servicemembers that are being held hostage as a result.

Kaine Senate Floor

Video of Kaine’s remarks is available here.

Video of Kaine reading the biographies of servicemembers impacted by Tuberville’s blockade is available here.

“…Virginia is as connected to the US military mission as any state…I also rise as a member of the Armed Services Committee and as the father of a United States Marine to urge my colleague from Alabama, as have my other friends on the floor tonight, to stop punishing our troops and their families,” Kaine began.

Kaine went on to say: “We have officers among the list of those who have been blockaded who—on the assumption of a promotion, because it's been done as a matter of course here in the Senate for decades—sold a home [but] can't yet buy a new one because the new orders haven't yet come through. And they had to pay out of their personal funds to move their families because the military won't pay to move them, hoping that they might be able to get reimbursed. We have a Virginia officer who has been blocked a promotion whose wife is a public school teacher who had resigned from her job and not accepted the contract for the public school for the next year on the thought that she would be looking for a job in a new jurisdiction for a public school and now she's out of the past job without the ability to go find the new job. What did they do to deserve this?”

“What is the message that is sent to people who might want to serve if they know, wow, one senator who is unhappy with something that the Pentagon does can block my professional advancement, even though I had nothing to do with that—even though I've served honorably and deployed, won a Silver Star and a purple heart and other citations for bravery? Even though all that happens, if—if one senator, only one—only one is unhappy with something that the Pentagon has done, they can block my professional advancement just for that reason. How's that going to help us counter the recruiting and retention problem we have in the US military?” Kaine continued.