Administration-Pelosi Budget Deal Will Restore Readiness of Our Armed Forces
‘So the importance of this funding agreement is not simply our ability to provide for the upkeep and regular maintenance on our military as it currently exists. We are also talking about building the United States military of the future. Research, development, and modernization, so that our nation and our servicemembers are equipped to keep America safe and project power as necessary for years and decades to come.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the deal reached by the Trump Administration and Speaker Pelosi to avoid a government funding crisis:
“Earlier this week, the Trump Administration and Speaker Pelosi reached an agreement to avoid a government funding crisis and provide for our armed forces. In the tough circumstances of divided government, they achieved the kind of deal that our national defense needs. The two-year funding agreement will secure the resources we need to continue restoring the readiness of our armed forces and modernizing them to meet the 21st-century challenges that face our nation.
“As I mentioned yesterday, I always find it curious when our Democratic colleagues take the negotiating position that funding critical Pentagon missions and providing for the common defense are partisan Republican priorities. They act like only Republicans want a modern, ready military, such that our spending on national defense needs to be matched up with other spending in order to make it palatable to Democrats. Well, in one sense, my Republican colleagues and I will proudly say ‘guilty as charged.’
“Yes, we absolutely prioritize the national defense and the U.S. military. Yes, we prioritize keeping Americans safe. This is the fundamental obligation of the U.S. government. Over the past two and a half years, it’s been a Republican president who has sought to reverse the previous eight years of decline in defense. It’s been Republicans here in Congress who have prioritized rebuilding our national defense after the Obama Administration’s neglect and atrophy.
“And thanks to the Trump Administration’s tough negotiating, this deal will secure a larger increase in defense funding than in non-defense programs relative to current law. Better than parity for defense. I doubt members need any reminding about why these investments are so critical, but if they do, every day’s newspapers make the case loud and clear. For years, our adversaries have methodically stepped up their incursions and aggressions. They want to chip away at the peaceful rules-based international order that American leadership has helped establish and preserve.
“Between 2009 and 2018, the Chinese Communist Party increased its military spending by 83%. Talk about a build-up. The Chinese nearly doubled their military spending in less than a decade. And this is just the PRC’s publicly acknowledged funding. These numbers have very real implications. When China gets a leg up in terms of readiness or technology, they’re able to hold a greater number of U.S. and allied forces at risk. They’re able to push their air and maritime control further into the Indo-Pacific region, increasing hegemonic control and effectively pushing the United States and our allies back.
“So the importance of this funding agreement is not simply our ability to provide for the upkeep and regular maintenance on our military as it currently exists. We are also talking about building the United States military of the future. Research, development, and modernization, so that our nation and our servicemembers are equipped to keep America safe and project power as necessary for years and decades to come. In my view, this grave responsibility should be a top, top priority on both sides of the aisle. And this funding agreement will allow us to get it done.
“I’m proud that it will meet the pressing needs of servicemembers stationed at installations around the country — like Fort Campbell, Fort Knox, and the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky. So the deal will secure sorely-needed investment in the national defense. And it contains none of the far-left poison pills that House Democrats had sought, like going backwards on the issue of life or stripping away rightful presidential authorities. In divided government, that’s what we call a good deal. And the Senate will vote on it before the end of next week.”
Related Issues: Budget, America's Military, China