Senate Republicans recently erupted in anger during a closed-door meeting over Senator Tommy Tuberville’s proposed military freeze. The Alabama Republican had proposed an amendment to a National Defense Authorization Act that would have frozen military spending.
The Senate meeting quickly devolved into an argument between Republicans, with Majority Whip John Thune unleashing a scathing criticism of Tuberville’s proposal. Thune said that the amendment was an attempt to “micromanage” the Pentagon and that it was a “non-starter” for most Republicans.
The amendment was quickly shot down in the meeting, although Tuberville received some support from a handful of Republicans. Fellow Alabaman Richard Shelby defended Tuberville’s amendment, saying that it was a “good effort” on Tuberville’s part to figure out how to reduce military costs.
The heated argument highlights mounting tensions between Republicans in the Senate. Some Republican Senators have argued that the military should be used as a tool of foreign policy, while others argue that it should be used more sparingly and in line with spending priorities. In this light, Tuberville’s proposal was seen as a way to reign in out-of-control military spending.
However, Tuberville’s amendment was ultimately seen as an attempt to limit the Pentagon’s freedom, leading to sharp criticism from more hawkish members of the GOP. Tuberville’s proposal was ultimately withdrawn, and the National Defense Authorization Act was passed with no amendments.
Tensions between senators in the Republican Party will likely continue to rise as military spending keeps growing and the US government’s debt continues to rise. Tuberville’s proposal may have failed, but it underscores the deep divides that exist within the party over how it should handle military spending.