McConnell to Democrats: Stop Delaying NDAA Over “Miscellaneous Pet Priorities”

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U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding national defense on Tuesday:

“Here we are again, Mr. President — into the month of December with crucial business unfinished.

“Republicans spent months urging the Democratic majority not to neglect this year’s National Defense Authorization Act; not to leave our Armed Forces to the last minute. Five months ago, I called on our colleagues to process the defense bill as soon as possible.

“But instead, the majority has prioritized not just gigantic partisan spending sprees, but also a parade of mid-level nominations.

“The Democratic Leader didn’t even bring a Senate NDAA to the floor, forcing Senators Reed and Inhofe to conduct an informal conference with the House with a weakened hand.

“When Republicans controlled the government, we put our servicemembers first.

“In 2017, the Senate passed our version of the NDAA in September and we’d voice-voted the conference report by Thanksgiving. In 2018, the Republican Senate was completely finished with the NDAA by early August.

“But on Democrats’ watch, the Senate schedule has not matched the nation’s needs. We have spent time on less important matters while both the authorization and the funding for our servicemembers have languished until the 11th hour.

“Even now, House and Senate Democrats are still obstructing efforts to close out the NDAA by trying to jam in unrelated items with no relationship to defense.

“We’re talking about a grab bag of miscellaneous pet priorities — like making our financial system more sympathetic to illegal drugs, or the phony, partisan permitting-‘reform’-in-name-only language that already failed to pass the Senate this year.

“If Democrats wanted these controversial items so badly, they had two years to move them across the floor. Heck, they could have scheduled those matters for votes this week. But no — we’re doing more mid-level nominations, while Democrats keep half-threatening to take our Armed Forces hostage over these extraneous matters.

“Mr. President, there’s an old saying that goes: Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on the part of other people.

“The Democrats’ failure to plan ahead for unrelated liberal pet priorities should not be creating uncertainty and confusion for the brave servicemembers who keep us safe.

“My colleagues across the aisle need to cut the unrelated hostage-taking and put a bipartisan NDAA on the floor.”


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