President Biden Must Get Defense Production Up to Speed

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

“The free world has rallied behind Ukraine, including by supplying lethal aid the Ukrainians need to fight and win.

“But it is not enough for America and our allies to help arm Ukraine. We need to modernize and grow our own defenses at the same time.

“After just two months, our aid to Ukraine has drawn down a quarter of our entire stockpile of Stinger anti-air missiles and a third of our Javelin anti-tank missiles. Our eastern flank allies’ stockpiles of similar weapons have shrunk as well.

“This is a wake-up call, and not just about our ability to support the current fight. Ukraine’s expenditure rate of critical munitions should cause us to question whether our own wartime requirements for weapons systems and munitions are sufficient.

“This would be less of a problem if we had a robust defense industrial base to quickly refill our armories. But defense manufacturers have admitted that the production lines for some critical components have dried up and it could be years before they could replace the weapons we’ve sent to Ukraine.

“Mr. President, we live in a dangerous world. Whether it is the prospect of escalation by Russia against NATO today, or the threat of aggression by China, Iran, North Korea, or some other adversary tomorrow – America must be prepared to project power all over the globe.

“We cannot assume our adversaries will give us time to prepare for battle, or to restock in the middle of one. 

“For the sake of deterring the next conflict, or winning it if deterrence fails, we must invest in our own military readiness.

“For two years in a row, the Administration has submitted budgets that do not adequately resource our military. They’ve failed to even keep pace with President Biden’s inflation, meaning a net cut in funding.

“And with prices soaring, it won’t just take longer to build new Stingers and Javelins; it will cost more, too.

“Congress has already given the Administration significant tools and authorities to help America’s defense industry address the urgent and growing demand for critical munitions and weapons systems.

“This is precisely the situation the Defense Production Act was designed to address. But instead of invoking the DPA as intended, this Administration has entertained far-left schemes to use it for unrelated liberal goals like environmental policy.

“I’m glad to hear President Biden will be traveling to Alabama next week to visit a facility that manufactures Javelins.

“While he’s there, I hope he’ll reconsider what his Administration is doing to ramp up production of other critical munitions and weapons systems.

“I hope he’ll recognize what’s needed to enhance America’s security, and that of our NATO Eastern Flank allies and Asian partners threatened by China.

“The President must use the powerful tools he already has to fix this shortfall before it’s too late.”