While Conflicts Roil Key Regions Worldwide, Democrats Block Legislation for National Defense
‘For the second time in two months, Senate Democrats recently voted once again to filibuster the annual funding for our armed forces, for our men and women in uniform. And while Senate Democrats block appropriations for defense, House Democrats are slow-walking the authorizing legislation, the NDAA.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Democrat’s blocking defense funding:
“Hong Kong has been rocked by more violence as citizens continue resisting the Chinese Communist Party’s encroachment on their autonomy and freedoms.
“On Monday, it appears the local police shot a 21-year-old protester at nearly point-blank range. The police have arrested hundreds of demonstrators, reportedly as young as 12 and as old as 82. Tear gas, rubber bullets, and other violent measures have now become standard fare.
“A few days earlier, a number of democracy-supporting Hong Kong legislators were swept up in a government crackdown. These elected officials were either arrested or given summons just a few weeks before local elections.
“These continuing government escalations are inconsistent with the Hong Kong Basic Law, with international agreements, and with the will of Hong Kongers. Brutalizing their own people will not circumvent the core issue here: Beijing’s insatiable thirst for control.
“I have advocated for Hong Kong since I wrote our nation’s Hong Kong Policy Act back in 1992. I know many of us in this body now want to extend and expand that law in a targeted manner that focuses pressure on the Chinese Communist Party and its agents who are responsible for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy while minimizing the collateral economic damage to the very Hong Kongers we want to help.
“I’m eager to continue working with colleagues such as Senator Risch, Senator Graham, Senator Rubio, and others toward a strong and procedurally workable solution.
“Meanwhile, I appreciate statements by administration leaders such as Vice President Pence and Secretary Pompeo that show a clear-eyed perspective on China’s Orwellian tactics and bad intentions. I’d urge the administration to use the significant leverage and authorities it already has, particularly under the Global Magnitsky Act, to hold individuals accountable.
“Hong Kong is not the only recent reminder that we live in a dangerous world in which America’s interests, allies, and ideals are constantly threatened. Press reports this morning indicated that Israel is suffering yet another round of terror, including more than 160 rocket launches fired against civilian targets in Israel. This comes after Israeli forces appear to have eliminated one high-ranking leader in the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and targeted another PIJ terrorist in Damascus, Syria.
“The United States stands with our ally Israel against PIJ, Hamas, and Hizballah terrorists who have long sought to erase the Jewish state.
“If these reports are accurate, it will be no surprise that one of these terrorist leaders was holed up in Damascus.
“Syria under Assad stands alongside Iran as the chief patrons of anti-Israel terrorism. This is just another reminder that the United States and some of our closest allies have a strong stake in the future of Syria, and that a victory for Assad will be a victory for Iran and terrorism.
“So every hour seemingly brings more evidence of our troubled world. But, just as with the trade agreements, critical legislation in this area is currently frozen in place. Another casualty of Democrats’ apparent inability to make headway on anything besides fighting with the White House.
“For the second time in two months, Senate Democrats recently voted once again to filibuster the annual funding for our armed forces, for our men and women in uniform.
“And while Senate Democrats block appropriations for defense, House Democrats are slow-walking the authorizing legislation, the NDAA.
“Since the first NDAA was passed in 1961, Congress has never failed to pass a bipartisan NDAA by the end of the year, not once. Yet with House Democrats fixated on impeachment, I understand that Chairman Adam Smith and his fellow Democrats are now dragging their heels on the conference committee that needs to complete this bill.
“These House Democrats passed a uniquely partisan NDAA earlier this year, unlike the Senate’s bipartisan version, and now they are slow-walking the conference committee.
“These are among our most basic governing responsibilities: Passing an NDAA. Funding our armed forces.
"The United States of America cannot operate at less than full strength on the world stage because Democrats are too busy impeaching the commander-in-chief.”
Related Issues: NDAA, Syria, America's Military, Senate Democrats