Senate Democrats Filibuster Defense And Troop Funding Bill For A THIRD Time
|Democrats Repeat June 2015 Actions|
The House reconvened at 9:30 AM today. This morning the House passed:
S. 1356 (370-58) — "To clarify that certain provisions of the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2014 will not take effect until after the Director of the Office of Personnel Management promulgates and makes effective regulations relating to such provisions."
H.R. 22 (363 - 64) with amendments — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exempt employees with health coverage under TRICARE or the Veterans Administration from being taken into account for purposes of determining the employers to which the employer mandate applies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 2685, the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense appropriations bill.
At 11 AM, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried for a third time to begin debate on the Defense appropriations bill, but for a third time, Senate Democrats filibustered it. The vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2685 failed, 51-44.
With Veterans Day approaching next week, Leader McConnell then turned to the Fiscal Year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, H.R. 2029. Democrats have also filibustered this bill. The Senate will vote once more on cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2029 at 1:45 PM.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 53-44 to pass S.J. Res. 22, the Joint Resolution of Disapproval of the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers “Waters of the United States” rule. This resolution, sponsored by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), would overturn the rule under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
Today, Senate Republicans tried once again to move the bipartisan Defense appropriations bill that funds our troops. Yet even though Democrats agreed on a funding level for the military last week, they shut down an attempt to bring up the bill for a third time this year, continuing to put their domestic spending priorities and political games first.
Speaking on the floor yesterday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s hard to think of a time in recent memory when the number of threats facing our country were more diverse or more threatening than they are now. From ISIL to Russia, from China to the Taliban, and from Iran to Al Qaeda.
“These threats are real. These threats are worrying. And these threats make the political games Democrats continue to play with our men and women in uniform all the more hard to understand.
“Democrats have spent months upon months blocking funding for our troops. They’ve tried to hide behind a whirling kaleidoscope of excuses, moving from one to another as each is debunked. But with the setting of a topline budget number last week, the final excuse is gone.
“It’s time for the appropriations process to finally be allowed to move forward. That means it’s time for the men and women who put everything on the line for us to finally receive the support they need to be safe. It’s time for our troops to finally get the certainty they need to plan for training and operations.”
“Our colleagues across the aisle are just completely out of excuses. It’s time to move this bill forward,” Leader McConnell said.
He pointed out that even President Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, wrote a recent op-ed, calling for Congress to pass long-term funding for the military.
Carter wrote, " The nation cannot allow this to become the new normal. While Washington struggles to get its house in order, the challenges around the world continue. . . . In this uncertain security environment, the U.S. military needs to be agile and dynamic. What it has now is a straitjacket. At the Defense Department, we are forced to make hasty reductions when choices should be considered carefully and strategically.”
In order to give the Pentagon and out troops some certainty, Leader McConnell tried once again to pass the bipartisan Defense appropriations bill.
Unfortunately, Senate Democrats chose to filibuster this vital legislation for a THIRD time. The Hill writes, “Democrats blocked a defense spending bill for a third time on Thursday . . . . Democrats previously blocked the legislation in June and September while demanding a budget accord. Sen. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) was the only Democrat to vote for the legislation on Thursday. . . . [T]he tactics got vocal pushback from Republicans, who suggested they are frustrated that Democrats continue to block the legislation despite the budget agreement that passed last week.”
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) blasted Democrats for their vote: “For the third time this year, Senate Democrats have blocked vital legislation to give the men and women in our military the funding they need to defend the nation. Even after a bipartisan budget deal was passed and signed, Senate Democrats still can’t say yes to our troops. It seems Senate Democrats always find an excuse not to support funding our national defense. There is always some negotiating stance to defend, some procedural quibble to make, some domestic spending priority that is more important. Senate Democrats’ treatment of our national defense as little more than political leverage has become disturbingly routine, and it’s a shameful departure from the bipartisan tradition of providing for the common defense.”
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