“Keeping America Safe, Keeping America Fed, and Keeping the Lights On”
‘Congress must commit ourselves to equipping our military with the capabilities it needs to confront growing threats from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and terrorists emboldened by America’s retreat from Afghanistan. Keeping America safe. Keeping America fed. And keeping the lights on. Our responsibilities are crystal clear.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Senate business and national defense:
“Last week, the Senate passed an agreement that preserved America’s full faith and credit and began to rein in Democrats’ runaway spending.
“But the Senate’s work is far from over. Today, with the threat of economic crisis behind us, it’s time for the Senate to focus its full attention on some of the most basic responsibilities we’re sent here to fulfill: keeping America safe, keeping America fed, and keeping the lights on.
“First, we have a little less than four months left in the fiscal year.
“Our colleagues Appropriations Chair Murray and Vice Chair Collins have expressed a shared goal to fund the federal government through regular order.
“That means twelve full-year funding bills, processed, passed, conferenced, and signed into law before the end of September.
“I think all 100 of us agree that we should not be funding the American people’s government through one big omnibus at the end of the year.
“But achieving that is going to require hard work and cooperation.
“To produce funding bills that can pass the House and become law, we’ll have to build on the progress we made last week.
“After two years of taxing, spending, and runaway inflation, the American people chose to elect a divided government. In the coming weeks, that divided government has an opportunity to restore stability to the appropriations process and deliver more of the fiscal sanity they expect.
“But only if the Democratic majority lets the process work.
“This year, we also have the responsibility to deliver a farm bill.
“A full ten percent of the American workforce depends on agriculture. The Commonwealth of Kentucky is home to nearly 75,000 farms.
“And in the past five years since the last farm bill was passed, farming hasn’t gotten any easier. Neither has ranching or forestry.
“Small businesses and farm families across the country will be watching the Agriculture Committee’s work especially closely.
“Chair Stabenow and Ranking Member Boozman and our colleagues are already hard at work producing legislation that delivers the certainty and support they need to continue innovating, supporting rural jobs, and feeding America.
“And Chair Cantwell, Ranking Member Cruz, and the Commerce Committee are working on another measure that will require our attention before the end of the fiscal year – reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration. Reliable and affordable air travel for both people and cargo is important to the prosperity of communities and industries across America.
“So on behalf of Kentucky growers, and the entire country, I hope each of these measures receives swift consideration here on the floor.
“And finally, as I made clear last week, the government’s work to provide for the common defense remains unfinished.
“President Biden’s request for the defense budget is simply insufficient given the major challenges that our nation faces. We are investing roughly half as much in defense today as a share of GDP as we were at the height of President Reagan’s build-up in the mid-1980s.
“In the dangerous world that surrounds us today, this is wholly inadequate. Decades after the Cold War, the famous Reagan maxim – ‘peace through strength’ – still applies.
“But unfortunately, the Biden Administration’s record on defending America, our partners, and our interests has been one of weakness and delay.
“Take, for example, the President’s approach to helping Ukraine fight Russian invaders.
“At seemingly every opportunity – from guided rockets to drones to Abrams tanks – he hesitated to put decisive capabilities in Ukrainian hands until they were several steps behind the pace of relevance.
“Last month, the Biden Administration finally authorized the transfer of F-16 fighter aircraft. But as with the tanks, they waited too long for these highly capable systems to be ready for a counteroffensive anytime soon, making it more likely that this conflict becomes a stalemate or worse, instead of a Ukrainian victory.
“And the President continues to avoid authorizing other key capabilities like longer-range fires and cluster munitions, even though Russia is already using them against Ukrainian forces.
“The consequences of these misjudgments are not limited to Ukraine itself. The same adversaries who watched President Biden’s botched withdrawal from the battlefield in Afghanistan are watching the West for signs of weakness in Ukraine.
“America’s friends in the Indo-Pacific know that along with robust investment in real military capabilities, the best way to deter aggression from China is to help Ukraine defeat aggression from Russia.
“Tomorrow, the President will welcome Prime Minister Sunak of the United Kingdom to Washington. The special relationship between our two countries is a source of strength in the face of shared threats around the world.
“Anglo-U.S. cooperation, including with Australia in the Indo-Pacific, will help shape the next century of strategic competition. I hope President Biden will recommit to standing with America’s closest allies and partners in confronting shared threats.
“And Congress must commit ourselves to equipping our military with the capabilities it needs to confront growing threats from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and terrorists emboldened by America’s retreat from Afghanistan.
“Keeping America safe. Keeping America fed. And keeping the lights on.
“Our responsibilities are crystal clear.”
Related Issues: Russia, National Security, Inflation, Democrats' Reckless Taxing And Spending Spree, China, Economy, Farm Bill, America's Military, Taxes, Debt And Deficits, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea