Defense Legislation is Crucial First Step Toward American Global Strength
‘China is actively trying to undercut American interests and partnerships everywhere from Asia itself, to the Middle East, to Africa, and beyond. This NDAA will strengthen our hand. It prioritizes crucial partnerships in the Indo-Pacific… The NDAA is only a first step toward the investments, modernization, and stronger strategies that we need to compete and win against rivals who don’t wish us well. But it is a crucial first step.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding national defense:
“All year, Senate Republicans have urged Democrats to prioritize two basic governing duties. Two tasks that are essential to keeping America safe, keeping us on track to remain the world’s superpower, and doing right by our men and women in uniform.
“Number one is the annual defense bill, where we authorize the investments, tools, and training that our commanders, leaders, and servicemembers need.
“And number two is passing government funding where we back up the NDAA’s ambitions with the actual dollars and cents that turn plans into reality.
“Bipartisan negotiators are still working on the second item. I hope they are able to produce text of a bipartisan government funding bill that can pass the Senate before our hard deadline next Thursday. Otherwise, I will support pivoting next week to a short-term continuing resolution into the new year.
“But I’m glad that, in the very near future, the Senate will finally fulfill the first key duty and pass a strong NDAA, named for our retiring Ranking Member Senator Inhofe.
“I’ve spent all week discussing ways this legislation will help our Armed Forces and national security professionals safeguard our homeland, bolster our partnerships, and keep adversaries like Russia on their back feet.
“Today I want to focus on what most Senators agree is the single greatest medium-term and long-term national security challenge that our nation faces: The Chinese Communist Party.
“The legislation we’ll pass today includes provisions to extend our security assistance to Taiwan.
“It steps up our investments in capabilities that are especially crucial to operations in the Indo-Pacific, from space assets to naval mines.
“It re-prioritizes countering China’s nuclear breakout by curbing the Biden Administration’s naïve efforts to retire critical elements of our nuclear arsenal.
“It tightens security on our cutting-edge research and bolsters sea-launch strategic deterrent capabilities.
“And that’s not all. This strong bipartisan bill puts new weight behind our long-term commitments to stand with both vulnerable countries in China’s orbit and vulnerable people within its own borders.
“It will authorize a new Joint Force Headquarters right there in the region, and make sure that U.S. military installations are not commercial destinations for goods that have been produced with Uyghur slave labor in the Xinjiang province.
“This bill will also help stiffen the spine of the liberal entertainment industry that apparently lacks the courage to cross Beijing without clearer incentives.
“This year’s NDAA will prohibit the use of U.S. military assets — like ships, or bases — in movies where the producers then turn around and allow Chinese censors to have final sign-off. If Hollywood wants to trample on American principles of free expression in order to please the CCP, they won’t get to use our own Armed Forces as props in the process.
“Of course, stepping up our competition with China and limiting the risks to America from the CCP does not mean walking away from the world stage more broadly.
“Quite the contrary. Checking the CCP will take a coordinated effort with even stronger, deeper ties between the United States and our like-minded friends and partners.
“That means everything from basing access; to joint exercises and operations; to strengthening our own defense-industrial base so that we can continue to score win-wins, in both security and economic terms, by selling our partners the defensive capabilities they need.
“Protecting America and winning the future does not entail pulling up our drawbridge, turning inward, and pretending the world will leave us alone.
“China is actively trying to undercut American interests and partnerships everywhere from Asia itself, to the Middle East, to Africa, and beyond. This NDAA will strengthen our hand. It prioritizes crucial partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.
“It adds New Zealand to the National Technological Industrial Base.
“It expands our ability to share cyber capabilities with operational partners.
“And it preserves vital security cooperation efforts in the Middle East and invests in expanding partnerships in Africa, South America, and beyond.
“The NDAA is only a first step toward the investments, modernization, and stronger strategies that we need to compete and win against rivals who don’t wish us well. But it is a crucial first step.
“I encourage every Senator on both sides to support it.”