Bipartisan Demands For Sen. Schumer To Bring NDAA To The Senate Floor

‘There Is No Reason That This Bill Has Not Been Put On The Floor In The Senate’: With The Calendar Well Into November, Sen. Schumer Is Still Delaying Consideration Of The Critical Annual Defense Authorization Bill, And Even The Democratic Chairs Of The Armed Services Committees Are Joining Senate Republicans In Voicing Their Frustration

 SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Each year, the National Defense Authorization Act represents the Senate’s most consequential opportunity to help steer the course of defense and security policy. It’s our chance to lay out our priorities for keeping America safe. For the past 60 years, without exception, Senate majorities have done the job and passed this crucial bill on a bipartisan vote. But this year, our Democratic majority is sleepwalking toward yet another preventable problem. The process began with earnest deliberation among our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee. Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe presided over extensive discussions. They adopted 143 bipartisan amendments. And the Committee reported out a final bill by a margin of 23-3. Our colleagues began a process that should be end with broad support for clear, bipartisan priorities — like equipping us to keep up with China’s military modernization and combat a new generation of terrorist threats. But the Democratic Leader has left the NDAA trapped in limbo while Democrats toy with another reckless taxing and spending spree. Neglecting the NDAA denies our Armed Forces the certainty they need, and it denies the Senate a debate about the most consequential national security issues.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 11/02/2021)

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK), Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member:Even though the National Defense Authorization Act is bipartisan and fulfills Congress’s most important duties — to provide for the common defense and take care of our troops — Sen. Schumer still won’t let us vote on the bill. Meanwhile, in the three months since the Armed Services Committee passed this bill, the threats we face around the world — China and Russia, North Korea and Iran, terrorist organizations in Afghanistan — have only gotten worse. By not prioritizing national security now, Sen. Schumer is sending a terrible message to our troops, allies and adversaries. Considering this bill on the Senate floor is a crucial step in the process because it allows every senator a chance to make his or her mark through what I hope will be a robust, open amendment process. I don’t want to cut my colleagues out of the process, and I don’t know why Sen. Schumer thinks that’s acceptable. Instead, we have wasted months of floor time waiting for an unpopular, partisan bill that hadn’t even been written yet. This additional delay will make getting our job done – and doing it right – that much harder. Now, Sen. Schumer has almost guaranteed this year will be one of the latest starts to the bicameral conference process ever. I share House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith’s sentiments fully when he said he was ‘extraordinarily frustrated.’ As soon as Sen. Schumer lets us, we’ll work day in and day out to get this year’s bill done. Our troops deserve no less. But it shouldn’t be like this.” (Sen. Inhofe, Press Release, 11/04/2021)

“[D]on’t sleep on the drama over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The House passed its version 316-113 in September, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has curiously kept the Senate’s bill, which was approved 23-3 by the Armed Services Committee, off the floor. The delay has caused a bipartisan backlash.” (“The Other Big Intra-Democratic Fight,” Politico Playbook, 11/11/2021)

The Democratic Chairs Of The House And Senate Armed Services Committee Have Both Publically Called On Schumer To Put The NDAA On The Senate Floor

REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA), House Armed Services Committee Chairman: “From a process standpoint, I can't argue with the Senate Republicans…. There is no reason that this bill has not been put on the floor in the Senate…. I called [Sen. Schumer’s office] and asked. They told me to piss off. I said, ‘Ok, I want to talk to Schumer.’ They said, ‘No you can't do that.’ So here we are.” (Politico’s Connor O’Brien, @connorobrienNH, Twitter, 11/02/2021)

“Smith told [Politico Playbook] Wednesday night he still hasn’t heard from Schumer.” (“The Other Big Intra-Democratic Fight,” Politico Playbook, 11/11/2021)

SEN. JACK REED (D-RI), Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman: “I rise to join Chairman Leahy in calling on our Republican colleagues to negotiate a final agreement on fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills. Just as we need to complete work on the National Defense Authorization Act--a position I have been urging repeatedly on our leadership--we need to complete work on the appropriations bills. They are complementary, to say the least, and they have to be done…. I would like to point out that the defense spending level in the Senate NDAA bill, which is pending floor action, was set by an amendment offered by my colleague, the ranking member, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, and supported by every Republican on the Armed Services Committee. I was pleased to work with Senator Inhofe and to cosponsor the amendment, which provides an additional $25 billion in funding for specific items …” (Sen. Reed, Congressional Record, S.7764-7765, 11/04/2021)

Senate Republicans: ‘Democrats In Washington Have Been So Preoccupied With Passing Their Reckless Tax And Spending Spree That They Have Overlooked And Ignored Some Of The Basic Responsibilities Of Governing, Like Defending The Country,’ ‘They Would Rather Be Talking About Climate Change And Social Programs Than Fulfilling A Constitutional Duty,’ ‘This Has Gotten Dangerous That We Are Not Able To See The NDAA Come To The Floor Of The United States Senate’

SENATE REPUBLICAN WHIP JOHN THUNE (R-SD): “Well Democrats in Washington have been so preoccupied with passing their reckless tax and spending spree that they have overlooked and ignored some of the basic responsibilities of governing, like defending the country. And right now we are on track to have one of the latest Senate considerations of the National Defense Authorization Act in history. The bill was marked up by the Senate Armed Services Committee in July, it’s been ready for action for some very long time, and yet here we are voting on low-level nominees and arguing about this tax and spending spree that the Democrats seem obsessed with passing. You can’t make this kind of stuff up: China is testing [hyper]sonic missiles and we are here in Washington talking about things like so-called ‘tree equity.’ It’s just an incredible lack of responsibility when it comes to addressing the issues that are so important to our country’s national security. And we can’t afford to wait any longer to deal with it.” (Sen. Thune, Press Conference, 11/02/2021)

SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “What we need now is for the Democratic leader of the United States Senate to let this bipartisan process work as it has now for over half a century. We call on Chuck Schumer today to give us floor time…. Let the 100 members of the Senate act on one of the most significant pieces of legislation that we will consider this Congress.” (Sen. Wicker, Press Release, 11/02/2021)

SEN. DEB FISCHER (R-NE), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “For 60 years, Congress has passed the NDAA. And we come together in a bipartisan way, with input from Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee in order to do this. This is something that all of us should be proud of, not just here in the United States Senate, but we should be proud of that as a country, that we continue to place the priority on our men and women in uniform, and also on the resources that they need in order to really carry out the missions that they are given. This has gotten dangerous that we are not able to see the NDAA come to the floor of the United States Senate. That decision is made by one individual, and that is Senator Schumer, who is the majority leader. He sets the agenda. And we are running out of time…. We’re running out of time to show the people of this country that we are committed to the number one responsibility we have as members of Congress, and that is to defend this nation…. I think any delay by Senator Schumer really shows a lack of prioritization for this country’s defense, but it also shows a lack of seriousness about those threats that we’re facing.” (Sen. Fischer, Press Conference, 11/02/2021)

SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “Shortly after the reports of the Chinese hypersonic missile test success, we had a top general say that it was a near Sputnik moment. We know that China has a quantitative advantage over the United States and now they’re gaining on what the United States has as a qualitative advantage. There are a lot of authorizations in the NDAA that will counter that threat. And the American people need to know that it’s a real threat…. I’ve served on the personnel subcommittee for six and a half years. I’ve observed seven straight bipartisan NDAAs go to the floor and get passed out. I’ve also observed a lot of progress for military families. Every day that Chuck Schumer delays this bill on the floor is another day military families are going to wonder whether or not they’re going to get a pay raise. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but inflation’s up there. Look at how much it costs to fill your gas tank. We need to provide those families the certainty that they’re going to be able to make ends meet…. Chuck Schumer needs to understand that these nominations may be important, but they’re not as important as the futures of the men and women serving in our military and our future ability to counter Chinese and other threats. He needs to bring this bill to the floor and do like we’ve done for the last 60 years …” (Sen. Tillis, Press Conference, 11/02/2021)

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “I want to talk about the dereliction of duty with regard to the Democratic leadership in D.C. and our military. The leadership of the Democratic Party on the Hill, in the White House, think about it, Speaker Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, President Biden all come from the anti-military Vietnam era, and it shows. Why? Because their actions consistently prioritize the interest of our military last. Dead last…. Chuck Schumer won’t bring up the NDAA. Bipartisan bill, won’t bring it to the floor. Why? I don’t know.” (Sen. Sullivan, Press Conference, 11/2/2021)

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R-ND), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “The bottom line is that we are running out of time. When I say ‘running out of time’ I don’t mean we’re coming up on Thanksgiving and we haven’t taken up the NDAA. I mean we’re running out of time to be the superpower of the world and be competitive with, as we now call them, near peer adversaries. China is not waiting for us. Providing for national defense is the federal government’s highest priority. And yet the Democratic leadership in the federal government seems to be more interested in expanding the role of the federal government rather than focusing on the priorities of the federal government as identified in the Constitution. We need to be about the business in getting this NDAA on the floor, debating it, amending it, hearing from the entire team to make sure that the world knows that the United States of America is still prepared to be the #1 superpower in the world.” (Sen. Cramer, Press Release, 11/02/2021)

SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “Why is it that Chuck Schumer is not bringing this bill forward? The reason is because it is not a priority for him. And it is not a priority for the Democrat party. They would rather be talking about climate change and social programs than fulfilling a constitutional duty, and providing for the common defense. There’s a lot that we have to be keeping our eye on, let me touch on just a couple of things. First of all, China, and as we look at great power competition and what this is doing to us, to our readiness, to our ability [to conduct] 21st century warfare. And there’s a lot of conversation around hypersonics. And right now, much of the testing that we can do and have the ability to do on hypersonics is located in Tennessee at Arnold Engineering Development Center…. And funding for this testing is included in the NDAA. Also we can look at what China is doing to Taiwan, and how important it is for us to send the message that we stand with Taiwan, as they push back on China. Our allies need to know that we are with them. And our enemies need to know that they should be fearing us…. [In addition,] you can look at Russia’s aggression right now, the way that they are pushing troops back into the Ukraine. The way that they are conducting exercises as they have not conducted them in the past four decades. This is their aggressiveness. Why are they doing this? Because the Democrats are not interested in national defense. That’s the message they’re sending. And our president is more interested in climate change than he is in national defense.” (Sen. Blackburn, Press Conference, 11/2/2021)

SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “How can you support our troops, or say you support our troops, and you don’t authorize the [defense] budget? It makes no sense. We can walk, hopefully, we can walk and chew gum at the same time in the Senate. We can do more than one thing, but they’re focused on one thing for some reason on the left. They care nothing about national defense. It’s obvious. They care nothing about our military. It’s obvious. But we need to step up to the plate. You know China in the last ten years has increased their military budget [by] $200 billion. … We better wake up and smell hypersonic missiles because that is a huge problem coming our way from China and Russia.” (Sen. Tuberville, Press Conference, 11/02/2021)

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “The main thing for the federal government is to defend the freedoms of this country. The main thing is to make sure we have a military that nobody ever wants to question our superiority. So what Senator Schumer is doing now while he watches what communist China is doing, what North Korea is doing, what Russia is doing, what Iran is doing. He doesn’t want to bring it to the floor. He wants to spend his time on social re-engineering. So we have got to understand that we have enemies. We have enemies that don’t like the freedoms of this country. So we have got to stand up and make sure we get this done, we need to have time where all of us are involved—not just a few people at the end. We’re all involved to make sure we get the Defense Authorization Act done now.” (Sen. Scott, Press Conference, 11/2/2021)

SEN. JOHN HOEVEN (R-ND), Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Defense Member: “I’m a member of the Defense Appropriations [Sub]committee and so I wanted to come here and lend my support to the authorizers as well. It’s very important that we get this NDAA bill up for consideration. Our men and women in uniform support and defend us every day, defend our nation. We need to support them. And we support them by passing the NDAA. And also by making sure that in the Defense Appropriations bill we have parity between what we spend on our military and what we spend on non-defense discretionary spending. I mean, this is how we show strength to our adversaries.  And I would submit to you that it’s a very very important time to show strength to our adversaries, whether it’s China, or Russia, whether it’s Iran, whether it’s North Korea. We need to stand strong and we stand strong by supporting our military. And we need to make those investments in our men and women and in all of the systems that give us that technological advantage. And what I want to really emphasize is our nuclear deterrence. In this NDAA, as well as Defense approps, we’re working very hard to modernize our nuclear triad—submarines, bombers, and ICBM missiles. And we’ve got to maintain that advantage on our adversaries…. So, again, this is about making sure nobody is ever the least bit confused that they can challenge the United States in terms of our military forces. Our role is to make sure that we take up the NDAA and that we pass it, that we support our men and women, that we make sure they have the tools they need to get the job done for the American people. And that’s what we’re calling for today.” (Sen. Hoeven, Press Conference, 11/02/2021)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “There is nothing that we do here in Congress that’s more important the National Defense Authorization Act and supporting our men and women in the military and providing for our common defense. There is nothing more important, which is why you see this disconnect between these relatively low-level nominations that Senator Schumer been scheduling rather than the most important piece of legislation we can and should be considering. If you just look around the world you see China threatening to invade Taiwan. Blockading the South China Sea, that’s their aspiration. You see Kim Jong Un shooting rockets off with nuclear capabilities. You see Russia building its nuclear arsenal and supporting terrorists and other activities in places like Syria. Threatening to invade Ukraine. You see as a result of the disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan, you see al-Qaeda and ISIS reconstituting themselves while the Taliban is running the country. How in the world that Senator Schumer and Senate Democrats can think that confirming relatively low-level nominations rather than dealing with our national security and these threats to our security are beyond me.” (Sen. Cornyn, Press Conference, 11/02/2021)

SEN. TODD YOUNG (R-IN): “The Democratic leadership hasn’t prioritized national defense. This is the most fundamental responsibility of our federal government. It’s time that the Democrats show some leadership. It’s time that they step up and work with Republicans to pass this NDAA and put aside this multi-trillion dollar tax-and-spend, left-wing ideological wish list that they are trying to ram through an equally divided United States Senate. The American people have had enough.” (Sen. Young, Press Release, 11/02/2021)



Related Issues: North Korea, China, Russia, NDAA, Afghanistan, Homeland Security, Al Qaeda, National Security, America's Military