McConnell Calls For End to Democrat Filibuster of Defense Funding Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding defense appropriations:

“Almost exactly a year ago, President Obama addressed the nation and declared his resolve to ‘degrade’ and ‘destroy’ ISIL. I’ll speak more on that in just a moment, but there were two lines in that speech of particular relevance to the vote we’re about to take:

“‘As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people,’ he said then, and ‘our own safety, our own security, depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation and uphold the values that we stand for.’

“He was right. It does. And doing ‘what it takes’ requires many things: everything from amphibious shipping, Joint Strike Fighters, and forward presence to preserving our gains in Afghanistan and investing in the naval systems required to balance against Chinese expansion in Asia.

“So when President Obama sent us a budget request asking for $612 billion in defense funding, we worked across the aisle to craft a bipartisan appropriations bill at that level. Democrats hailed the defense spending bill as a ‘win-win-win’ and a ‘victory’ for their states. They voted with us to pass it in committee, 27-3.

“But then, as The Washington Post put it, Democrats ‘decided to block all spending bills starting with the defense appropriations measure’ as part of some ‘Filibuster Summer’ strategy designed to pump more taxpayer cash into Washington bureaucracies like the IRS.

“The same President who had lectured the nation about doing ‘what it takes to defend this nation’ seemed content to see our military held hostage to the whims of the Far Left. The White House cheered Democrats on as they voted repeatedly to block the bill that funds pay raises and medical care for our troops.

“It’s was outrageous then. It’s outrageous now.

“China is deploying ships to the Bering Sea and to the coast of Alaska.

“Russia’s military is positioning itself in Syria to attack anti-regime forces under the guise of a counter-terrorism campaign.

“Refugees are pouring forth in their thousands, causing instability in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Europe.

“And, one year on from the President’s speech, ISIL is consolidating its gains within Syria and Iraq as it demonstrates an agility and an operational flexibility that threaten our country and our national security interests.

“The sad lesson of the last seven years is that our global conventional drawdown and withdrawal from the Middle East emboldened Russia and China. Our ambitious train-and-equip and economy-of-force programs to train combat forces within Yemen and Afghanistan and Iraq — and our program to train an opposition to fight within Syria — have failed to defeat the enemy. And Iran now appears free under the President’s deal to inspect its own suspected nuclear site and to funnel more cash to Hezbollah.

“So if President Obama is committed to protecting the American people, he’ll convince his party to end its blockade of funding for our military. We’re going to give Democrats that chance again in just a moment.

“The goal of Democrats’ ‘Filibuster Summer’ was to force Congress back to the brink. They’ve succeeded in doing that. They think it’s the only way to force America to accept their demands for more debt and more bureaucracy.

“But it’s time Democrats started considering the needs of our country, not the wants of the Far Left or the IRS. Ending their blockade of funding for our military at a time of significant international threats would show they’re ready to start putting Americans first.”

Related Issues: China, Russia, Senate Democrats, Appropriations, ISIL, America's Military, National Security