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U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

McConnell: U.S. Defense Production Pays Dividends Far Beyond Ukraine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks Wednesday on the Senate floor regarding our defense industrial base:

“I’ve spoken frequently about the clear links between the biggest national security challenges facing our country, and about what we need to do to address them. But let’s not lose sight of a few overarching points.

“America’s adversaries don’t ease up when we lose our resolve. In fact, they press their advantage.

“How many of our colleagues would disagree that withdrawing from Afghanistan caused America’s friends and foes to question the credibility of our commitments?

“How many would disagree that failing to respond decisively to hundreds of terrorist attacks against U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq has weakened our deterrence against Iran?

“How many Senators would disagree that the Biden Administration shouldn’t have withheld lethal assistance to Ukraine in the summer of 2021? Or that they should have shipped lethal weapons more quickly as Russia’s preparations became glaringly obvious that fall and winter?

“How many would disagree that the President’s caution and hesitation to provide critical weapons – like HIMARS, Patriots, tanks, and ATACMs – has prolonged the conflict in Ukraine?

“Over and over again, history has taught us that the costs of disengaging from the world are far higher than the costs of engaging. And just as the threats we face aren’t isolated, neither are the benefits of investing in American leadership.

“Here’s the plain truth: The overwhelming majority of the resources approved by the Senate as security assistance for Ukraine has in fact gone directly to American manufacturers, supporting American jobs, expanding the American industrial base, and producing new weapons for America’s military.

“Almost $70 billion dollars in investments, spread across at least 38 different states. Production of artillery rounds, alone, has distributed multiple billions into facilities from Arkansas to Virginia and Texas to Ohio.

“All to improve our ability to equip the United States and our allies for the growing challenges we face.

“Mr. President, these investments are not just replacing what’s being used to destroy Russia’s military strength. They’re expanding production capacity to meet soaring demand from allies – NATO countries have invested $90 billion in capabilities produced here in America since last February.

“And they’re helping equip U.S. forces for our own long-term competition with China.

“Take the Patriot interceptor. This air-defense system is arguably the most in-demand weapon in the U.S. arsenal. It’s saved thousands of American and allied lives. It’s deployed across Europe, the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific. It’s produced in Tucson, Arizona, with components coming from all over the country. And the supplemental resources we’re working on could expand production capacity by nearly 20%.

“Or take the 155mm round. It’s relevant in nearly every conflict imaginable. More than 75% of our investments marked for this munition has gone toward capacity expansion. Today, U.S. manufacturers are able to produce double what they could before our response to Russian aggression last year. With further investment of so-called ‘Ukraine spending,’ American production would reach 1 million rounds per year.

“The notion that this money is detracting from America’s other security priorities is nonsense. Anyone making this claim doesn’t understand how critical production lines work.

“The truth is the investments we’ve made in expanding production capacity to respond to Putin’s escalation are helping American manufacturers produce more of the weapons Israel and Taiwan need.

“I’ve spoken at length about America’s clear national security interest in helping Ukraine demolish Russian military strength, and in a secure and peaceful Europe.

“I’ve spelled out the glaring and immediate threats we face from Iran-backed terror, and the importance of supporting our closest ally in the Middle East.

“I’ve emphasized the gravity of strategic competition with China, and the urgency of the threat facing our friends in the Indo-Pacific.

“But as foolish as it is to deny the clear link between America’s adversaries and the threats we face… It’s every bit as dangerous to pretend that as a global superpower, our nation cannot or should not face each of them down.

“We have the means to lead the free world and ensure our own security. In the face of coordinated aggression from our adversaries, we have the clearest possible objective: ‘We win, they lose.’”

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