WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the need to fund our armed forces and the House vote on the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry resolution:
“Later today we’re going to vote on something that should not be controversial: Funding for our national defense. For supporting servicemembers and their families. For sustaining America’s global leadership and strategic edge.
“This vital priority is not something that can take a backseat to partisan dysfunction. Our men and women in uniform don’t get to go on sabbatical while they wait for Congress to get its act together. They have to stay vigilant, remain in harm’s way, and stay at their posts.
“Our military commanders don’t get to put critical overseas operations on pause until Washington does its job. Their objectives loom large, whether we give them a predictable planning foundation or not.
“And Russia, China, and Iran will certainly not take a water break if uncertainty leaves our nation flat-footed. They’ll keep right on growing their own defense spending and seeking to expand their influence.
“I’d hoped our Democratic friends would be able to put impeachment aside long enough to at least fund the Department of Defense. We’d heard public pronouncements from Speaker Pelosi and my colleague the Democratic Leader that they intended to work with us on substantial legislation.
“Well, if anything is substantial, this legislation certainly qualifies. It meets the Pentagon’s requests for targeted investments in the U.S. military of the future. New resources for expanded missile defense capabilities, trauma training, fleet maintenance, and key partnerships with allies around the world.
“But, alas, the Democratic Leader announced at a press conference Tuesday that he plans to filibuster the annual funding for our armed forces. Now, this would put our colleagues across the aisle in quite an unusual position.
“The same Democrats who have recently rediscovered hawkish-sounding positions on Syria and the Middle East are really going to filibuster $745 million for the Counter-ISIS Train and Equip Fund, for Iraq and Syria? And filibuster all the other broader funding for our armed forces?
“Really? The same Democrats whose latest effort to impeach the president hinges on delayed military assistance to Ukraine are themselves going to filibuster funding for the exact same program, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative?
“Really? The Democratic Party is too busy impeaching President Trump for supposedly slow-walking assistance for Ukraine to fund the exact same aid program themselves?
“These are political gymnastics performed at an Olympic level.
“The core message here is hard to miss: Our Democratic colleagues have a priority list. Picking fights with the White House is priority number one. And our men and women in uniform fall somewhere farther down.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. Even in a time as politically charged as an impeachment inquiry, it doesn’t have to be this way.
“Back in 1998, just days before the Republican House voted to begin its impeachment inquiry into President Clinton, the House and the Senate passed a regular defense appropriations bill.
“Then, some weeks later, even after the inquiry was underway, both chambers were still able to pass more bills to address the fundamental business of funding the government and President Clinton signed them into law.
“So if Democrats follow through on their threat to filibuster defense funding later today, they will frankly be making even the 1998 impeachment period look like a clinic in bipartisan cooperation.
“A Democrat filibuster of defense funding is not the vote that the military families and military installations in their home states deserve. It is not the vote that our commanders deserve. And it is not the vote that our national security deserves.
“Speaking of past precedent, I understand that this morning, House Democrats will finally cast their first impeachment vote…on an impeachment resolution which I understand they’re afraid to actually call an impeachment resolution.
“As I mentioned yesterday, Democrats’ draft does not even come close to restoring the same kinds of customary due process rights and protections that past impeachment inquiries included – either for President Trump or for their own Republican colleagues in the minority.
“Here’s what their resolution amounts to…this is basically what it says: ‘No due process now… but maybe some later… if we feel like it.’
“That is not a fair way to treat any American, and it certainly is no way to conduct something as grave as an impeachment process, which seeks to overturn the American people’s choice in a democratic election.
“I hope the House of Representatives sees the light and steps away from their unfair and arbitrary process.”
SOURCE Mitch McConnell
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