Senate Democrats’ Plans for ‘Filibuster Summer’ Would Hold America’s Military Hostage

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today urging Senate Democrats to support American troops:

“The bill the cyber measure has been offered to is the annual defense authorization act.
“It’s a related issue. It’s about protecting our country. It makes sense to consider these issues together.

“Now the defense bill is another measure that should be sailing to passage with strong bipartisan support. It does so almost every year. But Democrat leaders now seem to have a different idea.
“Here’s a headline that just appeared in The Washington Post: ‘Democrats Prepare For Filibuster Summer.’
“Filibuster summer.

“You can already feel Americans tense up. They don’t even like the sound of it. Who would.
“Let me read you just a few lines from that story: ‘After almost six months in the minority… Senate Democrats aren’t afraid to be obstructionists, detailing a strategy of blocking appropriations bills and other Republican agenda items until they get what they want.’
“‘Get ready for filibuster summer,’ the Post warned, because despite opening themselves ‘to charges of hypocrisy’ Democrats have ‘decided to block all spending bills starting with the defense appropriations measure...’
“Putting the obvious hypocrisy aside one thing is clear: The party leaders opposite seem to think this is all a game.

“Democrat leaders seem to think that the pay raise for a soldier who gives everything to protect our country, and who would give anything to provide for her kids, isn’t something she’s earned, but something they can gamble with — in a high-stakes game of Shutdown Roulette.
“Democrat leaders don’t seem the least bit bothered by the dire national security implications of what they’re doing. They’ve packed the car for their Filibuster vacation and they’re ready to hit the road — whatever the consequences for our country.
“They’re heading down this road at a time when ‘the United States has not faced a more diverse and complex array of crises since the end of the Second World War.’
“Those are the words of Henry Kissinger. And he’s right.
“From Beijing, Moscow, and the tribal areas of Pakistan to Ramadi and Tehran, we see unrest and global threats that threaten American values and American interests.
“And what do we see from Democrat leaders? A serious plan?
“We hear the President telling us he still doesn’t even have one when it comes to confronting one of the most serious challenges: ISIL.
“This is 8 months after he announced his intention to confront this threat. This is 8 months after I and others called on the President to provide us with a comprehensive plan to defeat this menace. And it’s 8 months since I pledged that Congress would work with the administration to ensure our forces have the resources they need to carry out the missions.
“Republicans have kept up our end of the bargain, even if the President still doesn’t have a serious plan.
“The President asked us for $612 billion in his budget request to Congress, so we worked across the aisle to craft a bipartisan defense authorization bill at precisely that level.
He asked. We delivered.
“The House version of this bill already passed by a big bipartisan margin. The Senate version just sailed out of the Armed Services Committee on a vote of 22-4.
“We were all set to pass the very type of bill President Obama indicated he wanted. But then Democrat leaders started listening to that little partisan on their shoulder.
“‘Why not take this opportunity to plump up that unrelated government spending you like so much?’ it whispered. ‘Just threaten to filibuster pay raises for the troops until they shower more cash on the bureaucrats in Washington.’
“At a moment of grave and gathering threats, Democrat leaders listened to that partisan voice.
“At a time when our military families need all the support they can get, Democrat leaders reverted to partisan form and are now threatening to blow up a bipartisan bill.
“This has to concern common-sense Democrats. They have to be wondering if their leaders have totally lost it with this Filibuster Summer and holding our military hostage.
“Because you don’t have to look far to see the important role that the military plays in each of our communities.
“I mentioned yesterday how important Fort Campbell is to Kentucky.

“Let me now tell you a little about Fort Knox.

“Fort Knox hosts the Army’s Human Resources Command.

“It’s a hub for multiple major commands under the Training and Doctrine Command.

“And because of its vast array of excellent training grounds and its exceptional training facilities, Fort Knox also recently began hosting thousands of cadets for extensive annual training under the Army Leader’s Training Courses.

“Not only has Knox been leading the Army in energy independence by developing the capability to go off the grid entirely, but it also continues to make an exceptionally important contribution locally too.

“Fort Knox’s economic impact on Hardin County and the surrounding community stands at over $2 billion a year.

“My constituents in Elizabethtown and across the commonwealth know how important Fort Knox is to our community and to our country. They also know that passing the bipartisan defense bill before us would allow for a critical new medical facility to be built at Fort Knox.

“They don’t want to see Democrat leaders hold that medical facility hostage for unrelated partisan reasons.

“Kentuckians and Americans know that supporting our troops is never a “waste of time.” They know that ensuring the military has the tools it needs isn’t a game.

“Here’s something else so many of our constituents know:

“What America needs right now isn’t a summer of filibusters, but a season of serious, bipartisan solutions.

“That’s what the defense bill before us represents.

“And that’s what the new Congress has been doing all year. We’ve gotten a lot done. There’s a lot more we can do. And if rank-and-file Democrats reject their leader’s partisan games in favor of keeping up the bipartisan work that got us to this point instead – on a bill they joined with Republicans to pass in committee 22-4 – then that’s just the kind of productive summer we can keep working toward.”

Related Issues: NDAA, America's Military