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Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., arrives for President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy's meeting with U.S Senators in the Capitol.

Senate Dems eye new plan to circumvent Tuberville’s blockade

Scoop: Senate Democratic leaders are crafting a new proposal that could help overcome Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) blockade of military promotions, according to multiple sources.

Democrats are preparing to send a resolution to the Rules Committee that would allow most of the 300-plus promotions Tuberville is blocking to be considered on the floor en bloc. This would dramatically reduce the number of votes the Senate would need to take to approve the long-stalled promotions. It would be in effect for a little over a year.

The resolution, described to us by several sources, includes a carve-out for upper-level promotions like members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and combatant commanders, who would still require individual votes. The proposal technically qualifies as a “standing order,” not a permanent rules change.

It’s being spearheaded by Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), among others.

The group has already reached out to some Republicans to gauge their interest, and it was discussed in a number of side conversations during the Senate GOP lunch on Tuesday, we’re told. Tuberville is also aware of the effort.

“It’s their side that’s kind of forcing this down our throats,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who has been approached about it.

The Rules Committee would need to decide the threshold for adoption of the resolution on the Senate floor, but it would likely be 60 or 67 votes. Democrats had resisted this type of undertaking for months, arguing it was incumbent on Republicans to pressure Tuberville to lift his holds.

Earlier this week, we scooped a parallel effort by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) to force floor votes on the two Joint Chiefs of Staff vacancies. On Wednesday, Sullivan’s proposal received the requisite number of signatures to move ahead.

More Senate news: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) will head to the border today alongside GOP Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Pete Ricketts (Neb.) and Mike Lee (Utah).

Tonight, the senators will participate in a nighttime muster with Border Patrol officials. Tomorrow, they’ll get a CBP briefing and tour the Ursula Central Processing Center as well as a riverine. They’ll also hold a press conference.

It’s notable that Cornyn and Barrasso — two potential Mitch McConnell successors — are going together. And the Senate is already considering new border security measures as part of the White House’s supplemental funding request.

— Andrew Desiderio

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