With The Security Situation In Afghanistan ‘Precarious’ & ISIL On The March, Dems Filibuster The Defense Funding Bill

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “I would remind everyone that at a time when we face an array of terror threats around the globe, we cannot afford to put politics above support for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines or our efforts to move the appropriations process forward.” (Sen. McConnell, Floor Remarks, 7/7/16)

 Dems Hollow Rhetoric: ‘Happy To Support A Defense Appropriations Bill That Supports’ The Troops

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL), Vice Chairman Of The Department Of Defense Subcommittee: “This defense bill takes a responsible approach to protecting our country – honoring the bipartisan budget deal in place and strongly supporting Counter-ISIL efforts and fully funding the President’s request for Overseas Contingency Operations.  As Secretary Carter has stressed, we will not take chances when it comes to funding the men and women serving in forward positions...  At the same time, our bill improves readiness, supports our troops and their families in the field and at home, and continues to devote more resources to science and medical research so we are prepared for the future fight.” (Senate Appropriations Committee, Press Release, 5/26/16)

SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D-MD), Vice Chairman Of The Appropriations Committee: “I commend Chairman Cochran and Vice Chairman Durbin for writing a bipartisan Defense bill that answers the question, ‘How can we best defend and protect the nation?’  This bill makes key investments to give our troops the right tools, technology, equipment and training to meet the growing and diverse challenges, as well as respects, acknowledges and supports our treasured allies, including Israel. Most importantly, this bill is crafted with the notion that our military is only as strong as its troops.  The bill includes a 1.6 percent pay raise for military and civilian employees and protects important military and family benefits, such as the commissary system.  Commissaries provide access to healthy foods at low prices around the world, and are one of the most popular services for service members and their families. Lastly, as the Senator for Maryland, I represent nine military installations that support 130,000 jobs.  The men and women who work there, and their families, protect and serve the United States around the world.  I am so proud of them, and happy to support a Defense Appropriations bill that supports them.” (Senate Appropriations Committee, Press Release, 5/26/16)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: ‘The Security Situation In Afghanistan Remains Precarious’

“President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he will leave behind 3,000 more troops in Afghanistan than originally planned, effectively handing involvement in a raging civil war the United States joined after the 9/11 attacks to his successor.  Speaking from the White House, Obama said he would draw down troops to 8,400 by the end of his administration, a change from the initial target of 5,500. Currently there are 9,800 troops supporting the Afghanistan government in its fight against the Taliban, attempts by al Qaeda to regroup and a nascent threat from ISIS. ‘The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious,’ Obama said, with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford at his side…” (“Obama To Leave More Troops Than Planned In Afghanistan,” CNN, 7/6/16)

In The Broader Middle East: ‘Scale Of The Carnage Inflicted By Extremists Over The Past Week Alone Has Been Staggering’

“Islamic State Extends Reach… Islamic State is increasingly reverting to less expensive but spectacular guerrilla maneuvers, calling on supporters to launch assaults while its costly makeshift army faces retention problems and casualties, Western officials said. It is expanding its global scope, inspiring groups and individuals spread across several continents, even though they may have different agendas and operational methods. The frequency of attacks outside Syria and Iraq has increased in tandem with battlefield and territorial setbacks . . .” (“Islamic State Extends Reach as It Suffers Defeats,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/07/2016)

“The scale of the carnage inflicted by extremists over the past week alone has been staggering. Just some of the more bloody attacks: more than 200 killed by a truck bomb in a crowded Baghdad market; 44 killed at an airport in Istanbul, Turkey; 23 killed in a siege of a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh.” (“Attack On Holy City Of Medina Appalls Muslims Amid Ramadan Violence,” CNN, 7/05/2016)

“Three suicide attacks in 24 hours -- that's how Saudis will remember the end of Ramadan, a month that has seen the wider region plunged into a wave of terror-related violence. The attacks -- including one in Medina, one of the holiest sites in Islam -- follow massive jihadi assaults from Turkey to Iraq that have been tied to ISIS.” (“Suicide Attackers Launch Wave Of Strikes In Saudi Arabia,” CNN, 7/05/2016)

 ‘The Numbers Of ISIL Fighters Now Far Exceeds What Al Qaeda Had At Its Height’

“More than 1,200 people outside of Iraq and Syria have been killed in attacks inspired or coordinated by the Islamic State, according to a New York Times analysis. … Nearly half of the victims were killed in attacks that targeted Westerners.” (“How Many People Have Been Killed in ISIS Attacks Around The World,” The New York Times, 6/14/16)

JOHN BRENNAN, CIA Director: “ISIL… is a formidable, resilient, and largely cohesive enemy, and we anticipate that the group will adjust its strategy and tactics in an effort to regain momentum.” (John Brennan, Prepared Remarks Before The Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 6/16/2016)

  • BRENNAN: “The numbers of ISIL fighters now far exceeds what al Qaeda had at its height. We're talking about tens of thousands of individuals.” (U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Hearing, 6/16/2016)


Related Issues: Al Qaeda, Appropriations, Senate Democrats, Afghanistan, ISIL, National Security