McConnell: Senate Should Use NDAA to Course-Correct Biden Administration’s Mistakes

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the National Defense Authorization Act:

“Well, at long last, the Senate will officially turn to the NDAA.

“Every day, world events remind us that America faces serious, growing threats. In too many cases, President Biden’s decisions have made things worse. So our annual opportunity for the Senate to have its say is as important this year as it’s ever been.

“In Russia, Putin’s preparing to escalate military hostilities along the border with Ukraine. And he is using Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas to bully our friends.

“But President Biden actually removed obstacles to Putin’s brand-new pipeline that will further extend his leverage and further enrich his cronies. So I hope the Senate will consider an NDAA amendment to sanction this project and to provide additional lethal support to Ukraine. These initiatives have previously won bipartisan support so I hope Democrats will join Republicans in pushing back on Moscow.

“China is flaunting major military innovations like hypersonic weapons systems, stepping up airspace intrusions over Taiwan, and blaming America for their bad behavior.

“But while President Biden and our Democratic colleagues like to talk a good game about China, they have yet to really walk the walk. President’s Biden budget request for our military and defense does not even keep pace with President Biden’s inflation.

“In addition, while Russia openly threats its neighbors and China builds up its conventional and nuclear forces, there are reports that Democrats are considering unprecedented new constraints on America’s own nuclear options, through a ‘no first use’ or ‘sole purpose’ policy.

“Our allies have strong concerns about this. I hope the Senate will use the NDAA process to demonstrate bipartisan support for finally modernizing our nuclear triad. That’s the bedrock of deterrence and our strongest defense against these serious threats.

“What about terrorism? Following President Biden’s Afghanistan disaster, we’re facing new and growing threats.

“The new Taliban government has made cabinet ministers out of terrorists whom the Obama-Biden Administration let out of Guantanamo Bay. But the Biden-Harris administration has still naively acted like these characters care one bit about international norms. That’s why Republicans have an amendment to ensure that none of the funding for Afghanistan aid can flow to the Taliban.

“It’s an indictment of President Biden’s policy that such an amendment is even necessary, but here we are.

“In the Middle East, Iranian-backed terrorists are rampaging from Yemen to Iraq to Syria.  They are emboldened as our deterrence has eroded. Given the multiple attacks on U.S. forces and facilities, we are fortunate more Americans haven’t been killed. It may only be a matter of time before we see US casualties at the hands of Iranian-backed terrorists.

“But in the wake of these growing threats, Democrats want to use the NDAA – a bill that should strengthen our national defense – as an occasion to weaken the authorities that support our military’s presence and operational flexibility by repealing the 2002 AUMF. I expect a robust debate about this.

“I’m glad we will finally be able to have these debates and these votes. America needs a course correction and the Senate needs to supply it.”