With Last Week’s Fiscal Agreement, Senate Democrats Are Out of Excuses to Block Defense Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding defense appropriations:
“It’s hard to think of a time in recent memory when the number of threats facing our country were more diverse or more threatening than they are now.
“From ISIL to Russia, from China to the Taliban, and from Iran to Al Qaeda.
“These threats are real. These threats are worrying. And these threats make the political games Democrats continue to play with our men and women in uniform all the more hard to understand.
“Democrats have spent months upon months blocking funding for our troops.
“They’ve tried to hide behind a whirling kaleidoscope of excuses, moving from one to another as each is debunked.
“But with the setting of a topline budget number last week, the final excuse is gone.
“It’s time for the appropriations process to finally be allowed to move forward. That means it’s time for the men and women who put everything on the line for us to finally receive the support they need to be safe. It’s time for our troops to finally get the certainty they need to plan for training and operations.
“The defense appropriations bill is half of all discretionary spending.
“The defense appropriations bill contains no controversial policy riders.
“The defense appropriations bill was supported in committee overwhelmingly, 27 to 3. Nearly every Democrat voted for it. Democrats even sent out press releases praising it.
“It’s obvious why we should pass it now.
“President Obama’s own Secretary of Defense just wrote an op-ed titled ‘U.S. Military Needs Budget Certainty in Uncertain Times’ in which he implored Congress to authorize long-term funding for the military.
In this uncertain security environment, the U.S. military needs to be agile and dynamic. What it has now is a straitjacket. At the Defense Department, we are forced to make hasty reductions when choices should be considered carefully and strategically.
I appeal to Congress to act on a long-term budget deal that will let America’s troops and their families know we have the commitment and resources to see them succeed, and send a global message that the United States will continue to plan and build for the finest fighting force the world has ever known.
“Our colleagues across the aisle are just completely out of excuses. It’s time to move this bill forward.
“Once we do, we have every intention of then moving on to other appropriations bills.
“Remember, our members worked very hard on those bills. Nearly all of the appropriations measures passed committee with support from both parties. We obviously want to process them all.
“If Democrats hadn’t wasted months blocking every last one as part of a political game, we could have passed all 12 appropriations bills long ago. But since they did, it’s forced Congress up against a December 11th deadline of Democrats’ own creation.
“We’re going to work within that deadline to get as much done as we can.
“With bipartisan cooperation, we can get a lot more done.
“With more political games, we can get a lot less done.”
Related Issues: Appropriations, National Security, Senate Democrats, Budget