McConnell Calls Out Democratic Attempt to Decimate Funding for the National Defense
‘This week, the Senate will pass the 60th annual National Defense Authorization Act. Every year, this legislation lets the Senate make our top priorities for protecting our homeland, our allies, and our global interests into law. And certainly, the recent behavior of our adversaries the world over shows why this task is as urgent as ever.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the National Defense Authorization Act:
“This week, the Senate will pass the 60th annual National Defense Authorization Act.
“Every year, this legislation lets the Senate make our top priorities for protecting our homeland, our allies, and our global interests into law. And certainly, the recent behavior of our adversaries the world over shows why this task is as urgent as ever.
“Even as our nation focused on fighting the pandemic at home, our servicemembers have contended with dangerous behavior from our would-be competitors abroad.
“The Russian military has kept probing the bounds of U.S. airspace, and Putin’s regime has kept its sights on cyberwar and destabilization by proxy.
“China continues to treat international commercial lanes like its own private pond, choke freedom and autonomy out of Hong Kong, and try to ethnically-cleanse Xinjiang.
“Both countries continue to modernize their military capabilities, from sea to space. And Iranian meddling, North Korean saber-rattling, and the persistent violence of terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda demand our attention as well.
“Amid these threats and many others, the American people and the entire free world look to the men and women of the U.S. military to preserve order and peace. And the open, bipartisan process led by Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Reed has produced strong legislation that will advance their missions.
“It’s the product of intense committee work. It contains more than 200 bipartisan amendments. And it builds on the historic progress which this administration and this Republican Senate have secured over the past three years.
“After years of cuts to our military that weakened readiness, imperiled modernization, and called into question our commitment to preserving our own global interests, we have reversed that tide.
“We’ve invested in strength. We built a new National Defense Strategy and are investing in rebuilding and modernizing our military to help achieve it.
“This legislation will carry the progress even further. More support for defense research and innovation… resources for military housing and healthcare… tools to deepen our commitments with regional partners in Europe and the Pacific.
“For most Americans, investing in the greatest fighting force in world history is not controversial.
“It’s a no-brainer. But lest we forget, the radical energy on the far left is sparking some truly extraordinary behavior among our Democratic colleagues.
“Case in point. Later today, we will vote on an amendment that was advertised in an opinion essay by the junior Senator from Vermont titled: “Defund the Pentagon: the liberal case.”
“You heard correctly.
“We’ve moved on from defunding local police to defunding the United States Armed Forces. Maybe we’ll be sending social workers on overseas deployments, when they aren’t too busy responding to violent crimes. I’m not sure.
“Senator Sanders’ amendment would literally decimate the defense budget.
“It would rip 10 percent of it right out and pour the money into all the usual socialist fantasies -- free rent, free college, free everything for everyone.
“Now, in light of the long-held views of our colleague from Vermont, a proposal like this may not be particularly shocking. What is remarkable is that the Democratic Leader, the leader of their caucus, felt pressured into endorsing it.
“Let me say that again: The Democratic Leader, who in almost every floor speech tries to accuse this administration of being too soft on America’s adversaries, wants to literally decimate our defense budget to finance a socialist spending spree.
“This turns out to be something of a pattern. On the Democratic side, it sometimes seems like we have hawks when it comes to speeches but chickens when it’s time to make policy.
“When they’re on the sidelines, there’s plenty of bark. But whenever they actually call a shot -- zero bite.
“Lots of bark; little bite. All hat; no cattle.
“That’s how we end up with spectacles like the Democratic Leader playacting as a Russia hawk, when about a decade ago, he was publicly arguing that we should cozy up to Putin, send Russia billions of dollars of cash, pull the plug on NATO missile defense pacts that hurt Putin’s feelings, and concede to him, quote, “Russia’s traditional role” in the Caspian Sea region.
“That was the Democratic Leader in 2008. Pay off Putin and let him have a sphere of influence.
“And now, today, he wants to decimate defense spending. But in between, he’s spent years insisting that Democrats want to get tough on foreign policy.
“You see how the game works. Sound like hawks on television; act like chickens when making policy.
“Defense spending demonstrates our will to defend ourselves and our interests in a dangerous world. Keeping our nation safe is our foremost constitutional duty. We cannot shirk it.
“My colleagues who profess concern over Putin’s efforts to interfere in our politics, or Xi’s efforts to rewrite the rules of the international system, must know that we will never be able to deter such behavior if we sell our own soldiers short and surrender our technological edge.
“I assure you, Beijing and Moscow will be watching this vote.
“I ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to reject this far-left fantasy. Defeat this amendment.
“Throughout the Cold War we maintained a bipartisan commitment to American strength, American alliances, and a global peace built on American values.
“We will reinforce that stand when we sink the reckless Sanders-Schumer amendment...
“...And again when we pass this bipartisan bill.”
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