|Meanwhile, power has gone out in Gaza after Israel blockaded the strip, cutting off access to fuel that’s used for the region’s only power plant. Generators are powering the main hospital, Al-Shifa, but authorities in Palestine say they only have three days’ worth of fuel, max, left. “It feels like the world is collapsing,” one Gazan told reporters.
Pentagon abortion policy? If you read Roundup yesterday, you’ll note that I mentioned that the U.S. currently has no ambassador to Israel. The reason why? Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R–Ala.) is protesting a controversial Pentagon policy that facilitates service members traveling to get abortions by reimbursing their travel expenses and allowing them up to three weeks of paid leave for this purpose.
As part of this protest, Tuberville is holding up the confirmations of not only the ambassador to Israel but also two nominees for Joint Chiefs and tons of high-up military promotions.
“Tuberville’s blockade is unique because it affects hundreds of military nominations and promotions,” reports the Associated Press. “Democratic leaders would have to hold roll call votes on every one to get around the hold, an unwieldy and time-consuming process in a chamber that already struggles to finish its basic business.”
For people with deeply held moral objections to abortion—like myself—the fact that so many workplaces (Meta, Airbnb, KPMG, JP Morgan, Tesla, Disney, Amazon, Netflix) now offer “abortion benefits” in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision is disturbing. But more practically, it creates problems when those issuing such benefits are divided on their prudence and morality; Tuberville and many of his Republican colleagues clearly stand in opposition to the federal government providing such lenience for abortion-seekers, which has now resulted in the bizarre ambassador holdup as war breaks out in the Middle East.
“Partisan antics have gotten in the way of key nominations and military promotions for too long,” Sen. Chris Coons (D–Del.) said recently. Coons unfortunately seems oblivious to the idea that it’s actually partisan antics on both sides that have led to this situation.
Congressional kerfuffles: Representatives in the House remain unsure who they want to elect as speaker following the historic ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R–Calif.) last week. After meeting privately yesterday, Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R–La.) seems like the narrow favorite.
He “won the GOP conference’s nomination for speaker by a 113-99 vote, but he needs 217 votes to become speaker and thus can only afford to lose around four Republican votes on the House floor,” reports Axios.
That said, “if Republicans aren’t able to line up behind either of the two leading contenders to be speaker of the House—Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio—there is a third possibility that a bloc of Republicans favors: the former speaker, Representative Kevin McCarthy,” reports The New York Times. We will be living through Groundhog Day, forevermore.