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

McConnell: Senate Has Opportunity to Answer National Security Challenges with American Strength

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks Monday on the Senate floor regarding national security priorities:

“This week, Senator Lankford and several colleagues will continue their work to finalize the most substantial border security policy in thirty years. 

“This agreement would come not a moment too soon. Over the past three years, we’ve watched the flood of illegal immigration tick past 6.7 million encounters.

“6.7 million since President Biden took office. And an especially alarming surge just last year – December reportedly saw the highest monthly total for border encounters on record.

“The President’s open borders have meant booming business for the cartels who specialize in trafficking humans and smuggling drugs… And far harsher realities for American communities grappling with lethal fentanyl and the thousands of people who have died trying to cross.

“This is a crisis, whether Washington Democrats are willing to call it one or not.

“The American people recognize what CBP and ICE are up against, even if their Commander-in-Chief doesn’t.

“And the entire world understands what’s at stake here in the Senate in the coming weeks.

“America’s national security begins with securing and maintaining our borders. It’s a matter of basic sovereignty.

“But we’re also a global superpower with global responsibilities. We’re facing serious, linked challenges on multiple fronts. And once again, that’s reality whether or not our Commander-in-Chief acknowledges it.

“In Europe, our closest allies and trading partners are one border away from facing the brunt of naked authoritarian aggression. And it took months for the Biden Administration to grasp the urgency of that threat.

“America’s allies looked to us to lead by example. To deliver decisive capabilities to Ukraine. And to step up investments in upgrading our arsenal and expanding our capacity to stock it.

“But for months, getting the Administration to authorize lethal capabilities to help beat back Putin’s escalation was a little bit like pulling teeth. And for years, the Administration’s defense budget requests have failed to demonstrate willingness to take the threats we face seriously.

“Right now, at long last, our European allies are making serious commitments to carry their share of the responsibilities of collective defense. And they’re leading the pipeline of lethal assistance to Ukraine’s war effort.

“This is encouraging. But it’s not guaranteed forever. The West’s leading power still has to behave like one and continue investing in our own strength.

“Of course, on multiple fronts, our adversaries are not behaving like they have reason to fear American strength.

“China continues to back up its regional bullying with massive investments in hard power and long-range alliances with enemies of America around the world.

“And Iran and its terrorist proxies demonstrate daily that the Biden Administration’s policy has left them fundamentally undeterred.

“Undoubtedly, the terrorists enjoy watching the Administration henpeck America’s closest ally in the region and attempt to constrain Israel’s response to their barbaric violence.

“They laugh at belated, half-hearted, and unenforceable declarations of sanctions against tertiary characters on Iran’s terrorist stage. And at the President’s half-measured strikes against low-value terrorist infrastructure.

“So Madam President, this isn’t just a matter of vanity or optics. It’s about a sober calculation of relative strength.

“The failure of American deterrence isn’t just an embarrassment. It’s a tragedy – the price of which is now being measured in American lives.

“Today, the Pentagon confirmed the deaths of two Navy SEALs during operations to interdict Iranian weapons bound for Houthi terrorists on the high seas. They were young, exceptional warriors engaging an enemy’s brazen campaign to threaten America and our allies. And their comrades and loved ones are in our prayers.

“Just this weekend, Iran’s proxies attempted yet again to claim the lives of even more U.S. servicemembers. For at least the 150th time since October 7th, terrorists used lethal force against Americans in Iraq and Syria.

“Several U.S. personnel are being treated for traumatic brain injuries resulting from these attacks. And frankly, it’s miraculous that this unchecked aggression hasn’t exacted a higher price already.

“Our adversaries are posing pretty fundamental questions about American national security, and the security of our allies and interests around the world.

“Will we act to secure America’s sovereign borders and help our friends fighting for theirs?

“Will we equip U.S. forces and our allies to meet aggression with overwhelming deterrent strength?

“Will we invest seriously in the cutting-edge capabilities and expanded capacity necessary to out-pace our top strategic adversary?

“Very soon, the responsibility to answer these questions will rest on the Senate.

“And we need to answer in the affirmative.”



Submit Press Releases