McConnell on September 11th
‘We will never forget the thousands of innocent lives taken from us 16 years ago. We will never forget the heroism of our first responders and the compassion of our neighbors. Nor will we forget the thousands of men and women who have stood guard to protect us every day since.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks, Hurricane Irma and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):
“Today, we opened the Senate with a moment of silence. We remember all those lost 16 years ago, on September 11th, 2001 — a day that changed our nation in profound ways. It wrenched our hearts with grief. It opened our eyes to cruel threats from afar. But it could neither extinguish the basic decency that unites us as a people nor the common humanity that defines us as a nation. It could not stop first responders from rushing towards danger — to save others. It could not stop Americans from donating to strangers in need — or volunteering their time to help. It could not stop the people of our country from being who they are: kind, caring, compassionate.
“It’s the same spirit we’re seeing again in the response to Hurricane Harvey. It’s the same spirit that’s giving hope to those in the path of Hurricane Irma now. Although the full extent of Irma’s impact will not be known for some time, it’s clear that this intense storm is causing widespread damage and it’s clear that the recovery will require a massive undertaking. Our thoughts are with those in the areas affected by Irma. We are again prepared to play our role in the recovery. Congress passed a critical down-payment on disaster relief last week. If more assistance is required due to Irma, we’re ready to do what’s needed.
“What’s most important, I think, is the knowledge that the American people and our first responders will again be there to reach out to do whatever is needed to help. That’s especially true on a day like today. We will never forget the thousands of innocent lives taken from us 16 years ago. We will never forget the heroism of our first responders and the compassion of our neighbors. Nor will we forget the thousands of men and women who have stood guard to protect us every day since.
“Our servicemembers voluntarily put their lives on the line to protect us, and in return, we must keep our commitments to them. Today we will begin debate on the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that allows Congress to authorize the resources, capabilities, and pay and benefits that our men and women in uniform need to perform their missions.
“For more than five decades, Congress has acted every year to fulfill this responsibility by passing the defense authorization bill. We will have our opportunity to do so again this week. This legislation, which was reported out of committee unanimously, will signal support for our servicemembers with more of the capabilities they need to be successful against an array of threats across the globe.
“After years of failed defense policy under the previous administration, this year’s NDAA will make significant and necessary strides toward keeping Americans safer. It will do so by authorizing the beginning steps to rebuild our military, to invest in modernization, and to restore readiness; by reforming the Pentagon and reducing waste; by restoring missile defense and responding to cyber threats; and by reviving troop morale with a pay raise they deserve and continued reform of the benefits that they and their families rely on.
“I think it’s fair to say that no Senator understands the importance of this legislation quite like Senator McCain, the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. His commitment to our nation’s heroes is unfailing, which is why – amidst his own battles – Chairman McCain has returned to the Senate to manage this bill and see it through to passage. We’re all proud to have him with us now.
“So as we begin considering this bipartisan defense authorization, Members from both sides will have opportunities to work with Senator McCain and offer amendments. Ultimately, we will keep working to find consensus so that we can pass this critical defense legislation without further delay.”