McConnell: Strengthen Military Production, Defense Funding, and Global Leadership

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

“Today, President Biden is overseas, meeting with America’s closest European allies as Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine enters its second month.

“He is engaging with a Europe that’s been profoundly changed. NATO allies have watched a neighbor invaded by an aggressive, revanchist Russia. Some, like Germany, are ending 30 years of post-Cold War neglect for military modernization and energy security.

“I’m glad that, as I urged last week, the President’s itinerary will include not just western Europe, but also Poland. His presence on the eastern flank will send an important message.

“Of course, the most concrete way to support Ukraine is with greater commitments of lethal aid. Ukrainian forces can win this fight. But they need more weapons, more ammunition, more fuel, and they need it all faster.

“The allies and partners who are helping equip Ukraine also need help replenishing their own arsenals. But the fight has highlighted shortcomings in both our current stockpiles of critical weapons and munitions and our industrial capacity to produce more quickly.

“As other NATO members wake up to the importance of long-term investments in defense, America must lead by example.

“We have to meet the military requirements that come from being a superpower facing growing threats to our global interests.

“Sustained increases in defense spending. Deeper inventories of critical weapons systems and munitions.  Less red tape. Work with industry to make our development and production systems more nimble.

“This will not only help us meet the growing requirements of our own military, but also ensure we can be a reliable supplier of weapons and munitions to our allies and partners.

“As the Washington Post reported just yesterday, recent events have caught our defense industrial base napping.

“‘[W]eapons manufacturers weren’t geared up to make antitank and antiaircraft arms at a wartime pace. While the U.S. had 13,000 Stingers in its stockpile before the invasion, there were no plans to produce more en masse… Militaries in Europe that have given their Stingers and antitank missiles to Ukraine now want to refill depleted stocks, creating competition for new units rolling off the assembly line.’

“President Biden already has real power to address this himself.

“The Defense Production Act was created during a period of tense competition with Russia to bolster production of critical military supplies. The exact circumstance we’re in today.

“Ironically, the far left has demanded the President invoke the DPA for everything but its central purpose.

“They don’t want to use the Defense Production Act to bolster defenses, but rather to force taxpayer money into renewable energy schemes that are not ready for prime time. Democrats should be using the Defense Production Act to literally produce more defenses, but they want instead to use it to spin up some more Solyndras.

“Of course, the real solution for global energy concerns is not throwing money into finicky technologies that themselves rely on Russian and Chinese supply chains. It’s to unshackle U.S. energy producers.

“We can help meet Europe’s needs by increasing American crude and LNG exports. But our European friends will have to make necessary sacrifices to wean themselves off of reliance on Russia.

“Putin’s war of aggression reminds us the so-called international order is not self-enforcing. The relative Pax Americana that’s lasted the better part of a century does not sustain itself automatically. American leadership remains in high demand.

“Putin’s unprovoked war has further discredited the small pockets in both our political parties who want America to pull back from the world stage, who excuse the behavior of tyrants, and who think it would be prudent and sensible to cede vast spheres of influence to Russia and China. There is nothing remotely prudent or sensible about handing over entire regions of the world to these thugs.

“The national security interests of the United States have never stopped at our own borders and they certainly do not today.

“We are a superpower with worldwide interests requiring a worldwide presence and a worldwide network of allies and partners.

“American power will not preserve itself. American security will not protect itself. American interests will not uphold themselves. And America’s partners will not lead themselves.

“This awesome responsibility falls on the shoulders of the President of the United States, the leader of the Free World.

“President Biden has an opportunity as soon as he returns from Europe to begin charting the right course for America and the West.

“On Monday, his Administration will submit its budget request for the next fiscal year.

“We will see if the President finally commits to investing in a future of strong American leadership.

“Our global challenges are not partisan issues, they’re American issues. I sincerely hope that the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces submits a defense budget request that reflects this reality.

“The world is dangerous and getting smaller. America must not shrink from the challenge, but rise and meet it.”


Related Issues: Russia, National Security, Energy, China, NDAA