Three of the senators from Kansas and Missouri were among a handful of Republicans who voted against confirming the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was confirmed this week after a monthslong blockade on nominees by Sen. Tommy Tuberville.
Republican Sens. Josh Hawley, Eric Schmitt and Roger Marshall voted against Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, who is nominated to replace Gen. Mark Milley his term expires later this month. Hawley and Schmitt represent Missouri, while Marshall represents Kansas.
Schmitt, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, criticized Brown in his confirmation hearing over diversity, equity and inclusion policies, citing a memo Brown signed that indicated the race of officers in the Air Force should be similar to the racial makeup of the country.
Hawley also said his opposition was due to Brown’s stance on diversity policies. Brown became the first Black chief of staff of the Air Force when he was confirmed in 2020.
“The military should be focused on keeping Americans safe, but General Brown is focused on critical race theory and other woke policies,” Hawley said. “His priorities, like Joe Biden’s, politicize our military, and I don’t support that.”
Tuberville, an Alabama Republican, has blocked all nominations for the Department of Defense for months because he’s protesting a policy that allows military members who live in a state that bans abortion to travel to a state that permits it for the procedure. While the military does not cover the cost of the procedure, it also reimburses the military members for travel costs.
By putting Brown’s nomination to a vote on the floor, Schumer sidestepped the blockade, which had been criticized by the military, White House and members of both political parties because they say it jeopardizes national security.
But the procedural move does not eliminate the underlying conflict. Tuberville is still blocking more than 300 Department of Defense nominees.
The Senate voted 83-11 in favor of Brown’s nomination on Wednesday. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, missed the vote but indicated in the Congressional Record that he supported the nomination.
On Thursday, the Senate voted 96-0 on two other high profile nominations — Gen. Randy A. George to be Chief of Staff of the Army and Gen. Eric M. Smith to be Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Vote on the confirmation of Gen. Brown
A yes was in support of the nomination, a no is in opposition
Moran: Not Voting