Defense Authorization Provides Tools to Protect America’s National Security

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor in support of the National Defense Authorization Act:

“Henry Kissinger recently said that our country faces the most ‘diverse and complex array of crises’ since the Second World War. It’s hard to disagree with him.

“Consider the daily situation reports received by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs:

“Taliban forces overrunning Kunduz in Afghanistan, retaking their first provincial capital in 14 years.

“Beijing exerting greater will in its aggressive military expansion, even deploying ships to patrol off the coast of Alaska.

“Russia deepening its aggression in Ukraine, and in Syria deploying the largest number of troops outside the former Soviet Union since the USSR’s collapse.

“Tehran showing its determination to expand the Iranian sphere of influence as it deploys additional forces to the Syrian battlefield.

“And in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, Al Qaeda terrorists reminding us of their continuing resolve to attack the homeland.

“All this – to say nothing of the resilient, versatile threat posed by ISIL, or of ISIL’s consolidation of gains inside of Iraq and Syria.

“We stand here one year after the President described a strategy for degrading and destroying ISIL.

“So far this strategy has resulted in a seeming stalemate.

“We know from nearly daily news stories that the Administration is reconsidering that plan and crafting a new strategy to combat ISIL. We also know that the war against the terrorist group will be protracted.

“That’s one reason the President sought $585 billion in defense funding in his budget request.

“Today, the Senate has the capability to provide the level of funding authority the President asked for.

“Today, the Senate has the power to help America navigate a treacherous world.

“Today, the Senate has the opportunity to help the Defense Department begin the hard work of rebuilding America’s combat capability as we seek to protect America’s interests across the globe.

“That’s why I’m calling on every colleague to join me in voting to advance the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act.

“The last time the Senate considered this legislation, 84 Senators — including a large majority of Democrats — voted to advance it. That was just this summer. I urge Democrats to vote the same way now.

“Because we’ve heard some worrying rhetoric from across the aisle.

“We’ve even heard a suggestion that this bipartisan reform bill is just, quote, a ‘waste of time.’

“I strongly disagree.

“Is it a ‘waste of time’ to transform bureaucratic waste into crucial investments for our troops and their families, like the raises they’ve earned and the quality-of-life programs they deserve?

“Is it a ‘waste of time’ to provide hope for wounded warriors and extend a hand of compassion to heroes who struggle with mental-health challenges?

“The bipartisan bill before us is hardly a ‘waste of time.’

“That’s why it passed the Senate once already with overwhelming bipartisan support. Our troops should be able to count on that overwhelming bipartisan support again today.

“This is not the time to flip-flop on the men and women who protect us. This is not the time to flip-flop on America’s defense.

“Certainly not in this age of daunting global threats.

“Secretary Kerry called the situation in the Middle East ‘a catastrophe, a human catastrophe really unparalleled in modern times.’

“He’s right. It is tragic. It is dangerous. And it only underlines the duty each of us has now to meet our responsibilities.

“Meet our responsibilities — not filibuster the bipartisan legislation that ensures our troops have the tools and equipment they need in this time of global crisis.

“This bipartisan bill would support our troops, help our military rebuild to face the challenges of both present and future, and provide President Obama the level of funding authorization he asked for in his budget request.

“We passed this bipartisan defense bill once already. Let’s pass it again now.”

Related Issues: NDAA, National Security, Al Qaeda, America's Military, Afghanistan, China, War on Terror, ISIL, Iran