Senate Democrats Put Partisan Politics Before Veterans, Servicemembers, Families
‘Democrats are happy to make promises to our men and women in uniform with the defense authorization bill, but they’re not prepared to keep those promises by passing the defense appropriations bill…At a time when we face an array of daunting challenges around the globe, it’s imperative that the Senate take the next steps today to provide the resources and training our servicemembers need.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today urging Senate Democrats to support the authorization and funding for our national defense:
“As every colleague knows, there are two types of bills necessary to fund our military. First is the defense authorization bill, which authorizes the many things our military needs. Democrats voted with us to pass that important bill last month. Second is the defense appropriations bill, which actually funds the things the defense authorization bill authorizes. Democrats have been filibustering that important bill since last week.
“In other words, Democrats are happy to make promises to our men and women in uniform with the defense authorization bill, but they’re not prepared to keep those promises by passing the defense appropriations bill.
“Both the current and incoming Democratic Leaders essentially just made this point themselves. Here’s what the senior Democrat from New York said just yesterday: ‘[A bill] without actual appropriations…is like a Hollywood movie set: something that appears real on the surface but has no substance and no life behind its false facade.’ Here’s what the Democratic Leader said: ‘Authorizing legislation is a start, but without resources, it’s very, very meaningless.’ Very, very meaningless. A false façade. Harsh words from Democrats about their own actions on defense funding.
“In an attempt to make a misleading political point about the CARA bill—a point that doesn’t hold water of course—these Democratic leaders inadvertently stepped on their own party’s message for opposing the funding bill our military needs. If they really believe what they said to be true, then why are Senate Democrats blocking the defense appropriations bill when they talk about how important it is to actually provide ‘real funding’?
“This a defense funding bill that the top Democrat on the Defense Subcommittee called ‘a responsible approach to protecting our country.’ It’s a bill that every single Democrat and every single Republican supported in committee. It also respects the budget caps in place. It’s the epitome of regular order. Senate Democrats may try to spin their actions now, but it all boils down to one thing: partisan politics.
“At a time when we face an array of daunting challenges around the globe, it’s imperative that the Senate take the next steps today to provide the resources and training our servicemembers need.
“The CIA director recently said he’d be surprised if ISIL isn’t trying to carry out an attack in the U.S. like the one we saw recently in Istanbul. And we’re continuing to see terrorism hit home in Orlando and San Bernardino and across the world in places like Bangladesh, Baghdad, and in Saudi Arabia. These factors only underscore the importance of taking up and passing this defense funding bill as soon as possible. They also underscore the importance of our Commander-in-Chief finally leading a campaign to defeat ISIL, which is the only way to end ISIL -directed and ISIL-inspired terrorism once and for all. It’s clear that preventing future attacks inside our borders requires defeating ISIL where it exists — beyond our borders.
“Passing this defense funding bill is crucial to achieving that goal, just as it’s crucial to fulfilling the commitment that President Obama made last week regarding the 8,400 troops that will remain in Afghanistan through the end of his Administration. The President’s statement represents another glaring example of why the Senate must pass this defense appropriations measure.
“It’s what’s needed to fund the training to prepare forces for deployment to Afghanistan, and the weapons they’ll carry, and the spare parts and fuel consumed in training and operations, and the ammunition they’ll need to execute their missions. It also includes resources to fund basic pay, deliver necessary medical services, and support quality of life programs that military families count on.
“The President has made a commitment to our allies, and we must meet our commitment to the force. Our men and women in uniform courageously put themselves in harm’s way to help keep our country safe. They do so willingly and voluntarily, they don’t ask for much in return, and they never forsake their commitment. Senators shouldn’t forsake their commitment either.
“Today, our Democratic colleagues will have the opportunity to join with us in meeting the first part of that commitment — by voting to go to conference on the defense authorization bill.
“Then they’ll have the opportunity to join with us in meeting the second part of that commitment — by voting to end their filibuster of the defense funding bill so we can pass it.
“America’s men and women in uniform don’t need ‘false facades’ or ‘very, very meaningless’ gestures from our Democratic colleagues. They need Democrats to put politics aside and join us in advancing a strong defense authorization bill and a strong defense appropriations bill, because our servicemembers and our national security depend on both.
“Now, despite Senate Democrats efforts to put partisan politics before pressing issues like national security and Zika, the Republican-led Senate is working hard to advance solutions for the American people.”
Related Issues: War on Terror, America's Military, ISIL, Senate Democrats, National Security, Appropriations