McCain, Reed, Enzi, Schumer, Mikulski

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator McCain: (11:24 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "And finally, actually this is a piece from "Politico" today, "actually the United States does have a strategy to fight the Islamic state, a State Department spokesman says. The president was referring to a specific plan to improve the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces and the Pentagon is working on that plan right now. But absolutely we have a strategy, Kirby said Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." I would be overjoyed to have that plan, a complete strategy and that plan presented to the Congress and the American people. It would be a wonderful event. And the fact is they have no strategy and they have no policy and the world is on fire and here we are, here we are going to try to pass an amendment which would deprive the men and women who are serving of the means and wherewithal to defend this nation. I hope my colleagues will strongly reject the amendment that will be pending before this body."

 

Senator Reed: (11:36 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "My amendment would keep the pressure on for permanent solution to B.C.A. caps and sequestration by requiring that the B.C.A. caps be eliminated or increased in proportionality in equal amounts for security and non-security spending before the additional O.C.O. funds are available for obligation or expenditure. Let me again emphasize we are not taking away these funds. We are simply saying what I think makes a great deal of sense. Until we develop an approach to B.C.A. that allows us to provide for a comprehensive defense of the nation and to invest in the economic health of the nation, then these funds will be reserved. Once we do that, then automatically all the funding that is inherent in this bill becomes available to the department of defense. We have heard colleagues on both sides of the aisle talk for years now about the need to resolve the B.C.A., to end sequestration."

 

Senator Enzi: (12:11 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "We can't continue to afford the interest on the debt if we keep doing that. Americans are working harder than ever to make ends meet. Shouldn't their elected officials be doing the same thing? By tackling these issues honestly and directly, we can help ensure that our nation is safe and secure by investing in America's armed forces while also maintaining fiscal discipline. On a related note, the Senate Budget Committee has produced an in-depth analysis of the O.C.O. funding system as part of its June bulletin published today. 

 

Senator Schumer: (12:26 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "They need to know that programs that benefit them - suicide prevention, sexual assault -- will be fully funded when other defense priorities come back into the base budget in future years. Our military brass needs to know that the weapon systems they're relying on four years from now but being paid out of O.C.O. This year can be funded and finished. So our military doesn't serve budget gimmicks. They deserve real support. What my friends on the other side of the aisle have done with this O.C.O. increase is a budgetary sleight of hand. Halfhearted attempt to fund the defense department while leaving key middle-class programs behind. Our defense department gets budget workarounds and exceptions while hardworking families must continue to feel the harsh cuts imposed by sequestration. That's a double standard because we need both for a strong America."

 

Senator Mikulski: (12:32 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Defense Secretary Ash Carter said our defense industry partners need stability, a long-term plan, and not crisis-by-crisis-by-crisis. General Allen, army vice chief of staff, "O.C.O. does not give you the predictable funding to plan the force that we need." I want to make another point. The defense of the United States of America doesn't lie only with D.O.D. That's our war fighting machine. But we have other programs that are related to national security that come out of domestic discretionary spending that are shortchanged and are shrinking and quite frankly I'm concerned about it. What am I talking about? In order to have national security, you need to have a State Department. You need to have a State Department to do the kind of work that involves diplomacy, working with nation around the world on the needs of these nations and also to engage in important negotiations like we have now on the Iran nuclear, that's not done by generals, that's done by diplomats."

 

The Senate stands in recess until 2:15 PM for the weekly caucus luncheons.