Senate to Consider Bipartisan Cybersecurity Measure as part of Defense Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding a bipartisan cybersecurity amendment as part of the defense authorization bill:

“The massive cyberattack Americans just read about reminds us all of the need for action on this issue. Building America’s public and private cyber defenses won’t be easy. But the bipartisan cybersecurity measure that passed out of the Intelligence Committee with the support of every single Republican and every single Democrat but one, 14 to 1, will increase the ability of the public and private sector to share information and make us safer. That’s why we’re going to take it up as part of the defense authorization bill now before us.
“I hope Senators of both parties will come together to support that bipartisan amendment when it comes to a vote.
“Just as we saw the Senate come together to keep the defense authorization bill intact and consistent with the budget resolution by standing against the Reed amendment yesterday.
It keeps us on track to pass bipartisan legislation that will support the men and women who keep us safe every day.
“There’s something else worth noting about that vote too.
“It means we’ve now taken twice as many amendment roll-call votes on this year’s defense authorization bill as were allowed on the last two year’s bills combined.
“It’s just the latest reminder of a new majority that’s getting the Senate back on track and back to work.
“Unfortunately, some leaders of the previous majority seem bound and determined to get us back into their gridlock comfort zone. At a time of grave threats to our nation, these Democrat leaders think it’s a good idea to hold brave servicemen and brave servicewomen hostage to partisan demands for more waste at the IRS and bigger congressional office budgets for themselves.

“Let me repeat, at a moment of dangerous and gathering threats, here’s the position of these Democrat leaders: they want to hold hostage the funding needed to make our troops combat ready so they can spend more on bureaucracies like the IRS.

“These Democrat leaders just can’t seem to kick the gridlock habit, even on legislation with the exact same level of funding President Obama asked for in his own budget.
“They just can’t shake their passion for partisanship, even on a bill that sailed out of committee on a hugely bipartisan vote of 22 to 4.
“That doesn’t mean the rest of their party has to go along with it.
“I’m appealing to every common-sense Democrat — every Democrat uncomfortable with the thought of holding our troops and their families to ransom for unrelated partisan demands — to keep working across the aisle in good faith instead.
“Because many of our colleagues understand the true sacrifice and unparalleled value of the nearly 1 ½ million active-duty men and women who proudly wear our country’s uniform, the 1.1 million members of the Reserve and National Guard, and the more than 700,000 civilian officials who stand in support — not to mention the many veterans and families who enrich our country and our communities.
“We certainly understand their value in Kentucky. We’re proud to host several important military bases across the commonwealth. I’d like to tell you about just one of them today.
Fort Campbell is home to approximately 30,000 Army personnel, including vital special operations units and the famed 101st Airborne Division. Units from Fort Campbell have bravely served as the tip of the spear in executing the U.S. Global War on Terror, with the 101st Airborne deploying as the first conventional unit in its support
“It was soldiers from Fort Campbell who proudly answered the call to assist with the delicate Ebola mission in West Africa. And it’s Fort Campbell’s unrivaled aviation infrastructure that provides the Army with the critical ability to rapidly deploy service members to volatile regions.
“It’s obvious that Fort Campbell means a lot to our country. I can tell you how much it means to Kentucky.

“It means a lot to its local community too, especially considering the fact that it has an annual economic impact of $5 billion to the surrounding region.

“This is hardly a unique story in America. From coast to coast, there’s no end of examples of how our troops and our military enrich the fabric of our communities while keeping us safe.
“These are our neighbors. Our friends. Our daughters. Our sons. They’re not chess pieces for Democrat leaders to wield in some partisan game.
“If Democrat leaders are really this worried about fattening up the IRS or adding a new coat of paint to their congressional offices, we can have that discussion.
“But leave our troops and their families out of it.”

Related Issues: NDAA, Cybersecurity