WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding national defense:
“The Senate gavels in today with our annual defense bill still unpassed; with less than one week remaining of government funding; and less than two weeks left until our hard stop for the holidays on Friday the 23rd.
“That’s the bad news. But the good news is that both sides have a clear understanding of what it will take to finish our work on a bipartisan basis.
“First, Senators Inhofe and Reed and their House counterparts have hashed out a strong, bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate should turn to it as soon as possible.
“But, of course, Congress authorizing the tools, training, and equipment that our Armed Forces need will accomplish little if we fail to then provide the actual funding.
“Both sides know what it would take for the Senate to pass a full-year government funding bill into law. There is no mystery here. A funding agreement would need to fully fund our national defense at the level written into the NDAA, without lavishing extra funding beyond what President Biden even requested onto Democrats’ partisan domestic priorities.
“Our Democratic colleagues have already spent two years massively increasing domestic spending, using party-line reconciliation bills outside the normal appropriations process. So clearly, our colleagues cannot now demand even more domestic spending than President Biden even requested in exchange for funding the United States military.
“Funding our national defense is a basic governing duty.
“The Commander-in-Chief’s own party does not get to demand a pile of unrelated goodies in exchange for doing their job and funding our Armed Forces.
“If House and Senate Democratic colleagues can accept these realities in the very near future, we may still have a shot at assembling a full-year funding bill that will give our military commanders the certainty they need to invest, plan, and stay competitive with rivals like China.
“If our Democratic colleagues can’t accept those realities, the option will be a short-term, bipartisan funding bill into early next year.”