Schumer’s Show Vote Summer Puts Politics Over National Security

Chuck Schumer And Senate Democrats Are So Focused On Playing Politics That They Are Subsuming The Senate’s Duty To Address America’s National Security Posture In An Increasingly Dangerous World To Their Obvious And Cynical Campaign Tactics


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Last week, the Armed Services Committee voted to recommend a $25 billion-dollar increase to topline defense spending. In overwhelming, bipartisan fashion, our colleagues rejected a fourth straight budget request from the Biden Administration that failed to keep pace with its inflation, much less with the threat of China. If this major investment is actually appropriated, it will be an overdue step toward equipping America’s armed forces to meet an increasingly dangerous world. But shortly after the Committee’s action, senior Senate Democrats shattered any expectation that they were ready to start taking the requirements of the national defense seriously.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/17/2024)

·       LEADER McCONNELL: “We have to take the requirements of our national defense more seriously. What on earth should the rest of the world conclude if we don’t? Next month, dozens of America’s allies will arrive here in Washington for a summit of the most successful military alliance in history. In the face of growing threats, they’ll have much to celebrate: The addition of two new allies in Finland and Sweden. Greater coordination with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific, several of whom will be in attendance. And the more than 20 NATO member states who now meet or exceed the alliance’s 2% spending target. It’s encouraging that so many of America’s friends have taken long overdue steps toward stronger defense in response to Russian aggression. But America cannot afford to be reactive. The threats to our interests are too great to wait for our adversaries to strike. What example will we set? I know the one I’d like to set. I know the message Ranking Member Wicker and the overwhelming majority of our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee would like to send to the world. But it’ll take a great deal more seriousness from leading Senate Democrats for the promise of American strength and leadership to carry any weight. And they could start by bringing the NDAA to the floor without delay.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/17/2024)

SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER ROGER WICKER (R-MS): “It is far past time to rebuild America’s military. We can avoid war by preparing for it. When America’s senior military leaders testify before my colleagues and me on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee behind closed doors, they have said that we face some of the most dangerous global threat environments since World War II. Then, they darken that already unsettling picture by explaining that our armed forces are at risk of being underequipped and outgunned. We struggle to build and maintain ships, our fighter jet fleet is dangerously small, and our military infrastructure is outdated. Meanwhile, America’s adversaries are growing their militaries and getting more aggressive.” (Sen. Wicker, Op-Ed, “America’s Military Is Not Prepared For War — Or Peace,” The New York Times, 5/29/2024)

·       SEN. WICKER: “Regaining American strength will be expensive. But fighting a war — and worse, losing one — is far more costly. We need to begin a national conversation today on how we achieve a peaceful, prosperous and American-led 21st century. The first step is a generational investment in the U.S. military.” (Sen. Wicker, Op-Ed, “America’s Military Is Not Prepared For War — Or Peace,” The New York Times, 5/29/2024)

SENATE REPUBLICAN WHIP JOHN THUNE (R-SD): “You can tell the season we’re in. We’re in the political season, based upon what the Democrats and the Senate are, and are not, spending their time and energy considering. Clearly, the goal of Senate Democrats and Senator Schumer is to have a summer of show votes. We had one of those already … We’re having one this week … I’m sure there will be more votes like that to come – none of which, I might add, have an objective of actually getting a result, getting an outcome, or getting something signed into law. They are purely and simply designed to give vulnerable Democrats political cover on issues that they know that they are vulnerable on.” (Sen. Thune, Press Conference, 6/04/2024)

·       SEN. THUNE:You can also see what they’re not spending their time on – what we’re not spending our time on here in the Senate…. We are not spending our time, obviously, on … energy, the border, inflation, national security, issues like that.” (Sen. Thune, Press Conference, 6/04/2024)


Last Week, The Senate Armed Services Committee Approved Its Version Of The Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act

“The Senate version of the fiscal 2025 defense authorization bill would authorize roughly $25 billion more for national defense than the Biden administration requested … The bill … was favorably reported to the full Senate … on Thursday. According to an executive summary released by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the bill would provide a total of $923.3 billion for national defense. That includes $878.4 billion for the Defense Department plus $33.4 billion for nuclear programs within the Department of Energy and $11.5 billion for defense-related activities outside the committee’s jurisdiction.” (“Senate NDAA Bill Would Boost Defense Topline By $25 Billion,” CQ News, 6/14/2024)

·       “Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services committee, succeeded in persuading a bipartisan majority on the committee to join his crusade to increase the Pentagon’s spending authority substantially … By a 22-3 vote on Friday, the committee advanced a version of the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes a $25 billion plus-up …” (Washington Examiner, 6/17/2024)


The Bipartisan Armed Services Committee-Passed NDAA Boosts Critical Investments In America’s Defense, Correcting The Serious Shortfalls Of President Biden’s Budget Request

‘The Hefty Topline Increase In The Bill Would Include Significant Investments In More Combat Vessels, Aircraft And Vehicles.’ As Well As Munitions Production

“The hefty topline increase in the bill would include significant investments in more combat vessels, aircraft and vehicles, according to the committee summary. It would authorize an additional $1.43 billion for a third DDG Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and provide additional funding to support the construction of a second Virginia-class submarine in fiscal 2025.” (“Senate NDAA Bill Would Boost Defense Topline By $25 Billion,” CQ News, 6/14/2024)

“It also provides $4 billion in funding for munitions production and capacity expansion.” (“Senate NDAA Bill Would Boost Defense Topline By $25 Billion,” CQ News, 6/14/2024)

“Both [House and Senate] versions exceeded Biden’s funding requests in several areas, including in the procurement of additional submarines, which members of both parties have said are necessary to meet requirements spelled out in U.S. military partnerships and to compete with China.” (“House Passes Defense Policy Bill Advancing Key GOP Priorities,” The Washington Post, 6/14/2024)

‘The Bill Lays Out Several Provisions To Tackle What The Defense Department Has Called Its ‘Pacing Threat’ Of Chinese Military Expansion’

“The bill lays out several provisions to tackle what the Defense Department has called its ‘pacing threat’ of Chinese military expansion.” (“Senate NDAA Bill Would Boost Defense Topline By $25 Billion,” CQ News, 6/14/2024)

·       The bill would authorize $100 million more than the Biden administration requested for training Taiwanese military forces and require the Defense Department to develop a multiyear plan for the establishment of a regional contingency stockpile for Taiwan.” (“Senate NDAA Bill Would Boost Defense Topline By $25 Billion,” CQ News, 6/14/2024)

·       “It also would require a report on military cooperation between China and Russia, require a plan for the establishment of joint force headquarters in Japan and Australia under U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and authorize an Indo-Pacific Security Assistance Initiative to provide defense articles to regional allies.” (“Senate NDAA Bill Would Boost Defense Topline By $25 Billion,” CQ News, 6/14/2024)

REMINDER: Biden’s ‘Meager’ 2025 Defense Budget Request Was Yet Again ‘Not Enough Of An Increase To Cover Inflation’

REUTERS: “Biden’s meager 1% US defense budget increase buys fewer ships, jets” (Reuters, 3/11/2024)

“The Biden administration’s defense budget for fiscal year (FY) 2025 is only a 1 percent increase from last year’s, a slowdown in spending that will prevent the Pentagon from quickly refilling weapons stocks gutted by the wars in Ukraine and Israel, according to documents released Monday.” (“Biden Seeks Modest Bump For Record $895B Defense Budget,” The Hill, 3/11/2024)

The cuts reflect a decision to seek less money for procurement and research and development than earlier forecast as the Pentagon reduces orders for F-35 fighter jets and much-delayed Virginia-class submarines, according to the officials ...” (“Biden to Seek 1% Increase in 2025 Defense Budget Under Cap,” Bloomberg News, 3/07/2024)

·       “The less-than-expected funding will curb purchases of the stealthy F-35 jet made by Lockheed Martin and air defenses for Guam, and will delay programs, including slowing orders for an aircraft carrier made by Huntington Ingalls Industries and Virginia-class submarines made by Huntington and General Dynamics.” ("Biden’s Meager 1% US Defense Budget Increase Buys Fewer Ships, Jets," Reuters, 3/11/2024)

SENIOR BIDEN ADMINISTRATION DEFENSE OFFICIAL: “It is an increase over last year, is not enough of an increase to cover inflation.” ("Biden’s Meager 1% US Defense Budget Increase Buys Fewer Ships, Jets," Reuters, 3/11/2024)


Schumer And Senate Democrats Have A Track Record Of Failing To Adequately Fund America’s Defense Needs

LEADER McCONNELL: “The Democratic Leader suggested in a statement that, ‘Democrats have led the way in ensuring our military is the best trained and best equipped fighting force in the world.’ Really? Guess again. Every year, Republicans have led efforts to secure defense spending beyond President Biden’s meager requests. When the Administration initially wanted the Pentagon to pay for increasing operational costs in Europe out of hide, without backfill, it took Republicans demanding additional appropriations to buy new weapons to replace the older ones we were providing to Ukraine. For his part, our colleague from New York blocked an amendment to the infrastructure bill in 2021 that would have made an historic investment in the defense industrial base and this was actually before Russia’s escalation. And then Senate Democrats voted in lockstep to block a similar one during budget reconciliation.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/17/2024)

·       2021: All 50 Senate Democrats voted against the amendment offered by Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) that would have provided badly-needed upgrades for our military to keep pace with China and Russia, choosing instead their partisan multitrillion tax-and-spending spree. (S.Amdt.3293, S.Con.Res.14, Roll Call Vote #325: Amendment Rejected 46-53: D 0-48; R 46-3; I 0-2; 8/10/2021)


True To Form, Instead Of Swiftly Taking Up The NDAA, ‘Chuck Schumer Is Embracing The Art Of The “Show Vote” To Boost His Vulnerable Incumbents’

[O]n Friday, the Senate Armed Services Committee announced completion of its $923.3 billion defense bill. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has not indicated when he expects to bring it to the floor.” (“House Passes Defense Policy Bill Advancing Key GOP Priorities,” The Washington Post, 6/14/2024)

“Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is leaning hard into his political instincts in a bid to preserve his party’s tenuous hold on the chamber — and provide election talking points for Democrats in Congress and beyond.” (“Schumer’s 2024 ‘Show Vote’ Strategy Targets GOP,” Axios, 6/06/2024)

·       “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is embracing the art of the ‘show vote’ to boost his vulnerable incumbents this summer, a reflection of the steep uphill climb Democrats face as their majority hangs by a thread.” (Punchbowl News AM, 6/05/2024)

‘Schumer’s Focus This Summer Will be Doing Everything He Can To Protect His Most Vulnerable Incumbents’

Schumer is trying to protect his narrow majority ahead of a tough election in which Democrats are playing defense in several red and purple states.” (“Senate Republicans Block Bill To Protect Access To In Vitro Fertilization,” The Washington Post, 6/13/2024)

·       “With Democrats’ razor-thin, 51-49 majority on the line in November, Schumer is relying on a barrage of ‘show votes…’” (“Schumer’s 2024 ‘Show Vote’ Strategy Targets GOP,” Axios, 6/06/2024)

“Schumer’s focus this summer will be doing everything he can to protect his most vulnerable incumbents.” (Punchbowl News AM, 5/24/2024)

“Republicans are dismissing the Schumer campaign as an election-year ploy.” (Punchbowl News AM, 6/05/2024)

Senate Democrats Are Desperate To Separate Themselves From Their Disastrous Record

THE HILL: “Vulnerable Senate Democrats are distancing themselves from President Biden’s ailing brand…” (“Alarmed Democrats Flee Biden’s Ailing Brand In Battleground States,” The Hill, 5/20/2024)

The lawmaker also cited the high costs of basic goods and services as another political headwind facing Biden. ‘People are shocked at the cost of a house and the cost of drugs,’ said the senator, who pointed out a can of midgrade paint now costs $55 a gallon.” (“Alarmed Democrats Flee Biden’s Ailing Brand In Battleground States,” The Hill, 5/20/2024)

“Biden’s handling of immigration at the border has become one of his biggest vulnerabilities this election cycle.” (“Schumer’s 2024 ‘Show Vote’ Strategy Targets GOP,” Axios, 6/06/2024)

·       Democratic senators have faced incessant Republican attacks over the surge in migrants at the southern border, to the point where some have sought to distance themselves from Biden on the issue.” (“Schumer’s 2024 ‘Show Vote’ Strategy Targets GOP,” Axios, 6/06/2024)

“[S]everal Democratic lawmakers tell Axios the president’s middling poll numbers to date have made distinguishing themselves from him a priority.” (“Some Democrats Try To Biden-Proof Their 2024 Campaigns,” Axios, 6/02/2024)

“Democratic incumbents, candidates and operatives described to Axios a dynamic in which many in tight congressional races are maintaining their independence from Biden without publicly rejecting him.” (“Some Democrats Try To Biden-Proof Their 2024 Campaigns,” Axios, 6/02/2024)

‘Schumer’s Tactics Are Unlikely To Result In Much Legislative Progress In The Coming Months’ … ‘Actual Legislative Days Will Be Few And Far Between’

“Schumer’s tactics are unlikely to result in much legislative progress in the coming months…” (“Schumer’s 2024 ‘Show Vote’ Strategy Targets GOP,” Axios, 6/06/2024)

“Of course, actual legislative days will be few and far between the closer we get to Nov. 5.” (Punchbowl News AM, 6/05/2024)


After Boasting About His Tactics, Schumer Teed Up A Succession Of Show Votes Pushing Partisan Legislation That Has No Chance Of Becoming Law

“It began last month with the border security deal … Now, Schumer is teeing up a series of votes on abortion-related legislation for June …” (Punchbowl News AM, 6/05/2024)

·       “Senate Democrats plan to force a vote Thursday on the bipartisan border security package … an attempt to flip the script on immigration politics, a major vulnerability for President Joe Biden.” (NBC News, 5/20/2024)

·       “A bill to safeguard access to contraceptives failed to advance in a U.S. Senate vote on Wednesday, after congressional Democrats forced the vote …” (Reuters, 6/05/2024)

·       “The Senate on Thursday rejected a push to protect access to in vitro fertilization, a vote that was expected to fail … All 49 Senate Republicans signed a statement released Thursday ahead of the vote saying that ‘Senate Democrats have embraced a Summer of Scare Tactics.’ It’s ‘a partisan campaign of false fearmongering intended to mislead and confuse the American people. In vitro fertilization is legal and available in every state across our nation,’ they wrote. ‘We strongly support continued nationwide access to IVF, which has allowed millions of aspiring parents to start and grow their families.’” (USA Today, 6/13/2024)

·       “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday took action to set up a vote on … a national right to an abortion …” (“Schumer Tees Up Action On Bill To Establish National Right To Abortion,” The Hill, 6/17/2024)

Democrats’ Stunts Could Not Be More Obviously Cynical And Political

“Schumer now is running an offensive to make Republicans take a series of uncomfortable votes …” (“Schumer’s 2024 ‘Show Vote’ Strategy Targets GOP,” Axios, 6/06/2024)

Thursday’s vote was the latest episode in which Schumer has called votes … on issues that Democrats are highlighting in their campaigns.” (Axios, 6/13/2024)

·       “The announcement, which came in a dear colleague letter released Sunday, won’t mark the end of Democrats’ efforts to go on the offense on the issue, though. Schumer promised ‘more action to come after that.’” (“Schumer Promises Contraception Vote Wednesday,” Politico, 6/02/2024)

·       In an interview, Schumer said he is eager to continue needling Republicans on the issue ahead of November’s elections.” (The Wall Street Journal, 6/05/2024)

In the days and hours leading up to the vote, Democrats and their progressive allies promised to wield it against GOP lawmakers, part of their push to frame the 2024 election as an existential choice …” (Politico, 6/05/2024)

·       “Schumer slammed Republicans for blocking the two bills earlier this month …” (“Schumer Tees Up Action On Bill To Establish National Right To Abortion,” The Hill, 6/17/2024)

·       “President Biden castigated Republicans for the vote.” (The New York Times, 6/05/2024)

·       “Biden attacked Senate Republicans after the vote.” (CNN, 6/13/2024)




Related Issues: NDAA, National Security, America's Military, Senate Democrats