Senate Democrats Neglecting Critical Defense Legislation as Growing Threats Challenge America

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

“Each year, the National Defense Authorization Act represents the Senate’s most consequential opportunity to help steer the course of defense and security policy.

“It’s our chance to lay out our priorities for keeping America safe. For the past 60 years, without exception, Senate majorities have done the job and passed this crucial bill on a bipartisan vote.

“But this year, our Democratic majority is sleepwalking toward yet another preventable problem.

“The process began with earnest deliberation among our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee.

“Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe presided over extensive discussions. They adopted 143 bipartisan amendments. And the Committee reported out a final bill by a margin of 23-3.

“Our colleagues began a process that should be end with broad support for clear, bipartisan priorities — like equipping us to keep up with China’s military modernization and combat a new generation of terrorist threats.

“But the Democratic Leader has left the NDAA trapped in limbo while Democrats toy with another reckless taxing and spending spree.

“Mr. President, neglecting the NDAA denies our Armed Forces the certainty they need, and it denies the Senate a debate about the most consequential national security issues.

“This is especially misguided in light of the Biden Administration’s erratic, rudderless approach to foreign policy.

“Just last week, Administration officials acknowledged that hundreds more Americans than they initially claimed remain trapped in Afghanistan… That terrorists in the country are just months away from being capable of conducting attacks on U.S. soil… And that no basing agreements to allow for “over-the-horizon” operations had yet been reached.

“Emboldened terrorists are already stepping up violence against Americans and our allies in the Middle East.

“The Administration is failing to deter Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria.

“The Russian threat has grown since President Biden took office — though you wouldn’t know it by how quiet Senate Democrats have been on the subject.

“Putin is committed to modernizing his military to threaten U.S. and NATO forces, weaponizing his country’s energy resources to pressure Europe, and escalating Russia’s military pressure on Ukraine.

“Of course, the American military, American industries, and our allies and partners are also facing a Communist China that’s hell-bent on dominating trade and repressing dissent.

“This is not a regional threat, but a global one. China’s comprehensive military modernization is stunning in its scope. The PRC is building weapons and capabilities to target U.S. forces at greater and greater range.

“We ignore this growing threat at our peril.

“So there is never a good time for Congress to abdicate its role in guiding and overseeing national security policy.

“But the Biden Administration’s muddled mess of a foreign policy makes this an especially terrible time for the Senate Democratic majority to neglect these issues.

“Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe have given us an opportunity to fulfill the Senate’s role in a serious, consequential way.

“Now the majority needs to let the Senate work.

“We need the kind of serious and rigorous floor process that the NDAA deserves.”