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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Reid Declares Defense Bill Funding Military "A Waste Of Time" As White House Threatens Veto, Demanding More Unrelated Spending

In his usual Mafia style approach, Sen, Minority Leader Reid
addressed the FY 2016 Defense Appropriations Bill as
  "I think it really is kind of a waste of time.”
Today in Washington, D.C. - June 3, 2015:
The House reconvened at 10 AM.

Bill Which may be considered today:
H.R. 2289 - "To reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to better protect futures customers, to provide end-users with market certainty, to make basic reforms to ensure transparency and accountability at the Commission, to help farmers, ranchers, and end-users manage risks, to help keep consumer costs low, and for other purposes."
H.R. 2578 — "Making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes."

No bills were passed yesterday.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released a statement applauding the Senate yesterday passing the USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048), legislation that renews and improves our foreign intelligence capabilities, while enhancing transparency and civil liberty protections. “This legislation is critical to keeping Americans safe from terrorism and protecting their civil liberties. I applaud the Senate for renewing our nation’s foreign intelligence capabilities, and I’m pleased this measure will now head to the president’s desk for his signature.”

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and began a period of morning business.

At 11 AM, the Senate began consideration of H.R. 1735, the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Authorization bill. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) offered a substitute amendment with the text of S. 1376, the committee-approved Defense Authorization bill.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 67-32 to pass H.R. 2048, the House-passed USA Freedom Act making changes to anti-terror surveillance programs. Prior to passage, the Senate rejected three amendments to the bill offered by Sen. McConnell by votes of 42-56, 44-54, and 43-56.

The president signed the bill into law last night.

On the floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the Senate’s debate on this year’s Defense Authorization bill. “Today, the Senate turns to consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016. This legislation, which authorizes funds and sets out policy for our military annually, is always important. But it’s especially important now, given the multitude of threats that challenge us as a nation: for instance, the aggressive rise of ISIL, Iran’s ambitions for regional hegemony and its accompanying quest for nuclear weapons, and both Chinese and Russian efforts to erode American influence and assert dominance over their neighbors.”

He added, “The reality is, we’ve left behind the era when America could withdraw from conflict overseas and escape to the comfort and security provided by vast oceans and isolation. We’ve lost the luxury of building our forces years after a war has begun. And most important, the simple trade off of guns versus butter, drawing down our conventional forces — hollowing them out — and standing behind our nuclear arsenal — does not suit the strategic challenges we face. We can no longer ignore ungoverned spaces. We have left the Cold War long behind. Trade-offs have become more difficult to accomplish, and they require greater strategic thought than the President has provided. And we have seen the resilience of the terrorist threat. . . .

“This legislation proposes to do a lot of things, but fundamentally it’s premised on a common-sense idea: that we should cut waste and redirect that authorized funding to where it’s actually needed — like meeting the needs of the men and women who put everything on the line to keep us safe.”

Unfortunately, President Obama and Democrats in the Senate have apparently already decided to play politics with this important legislation, declaring they want to hold it hostage until they get the domestic spending increases they continue to demand.

The White House has already issued veto threats against both the bill the Senate is considering, which was reported by the Senate Armed Services Committee on a bipartisan basis, and the House-passed Defense Authorization bill, which also passed on a bipartisan vote. The veto threat from the Obama administration declared that “[t]he President … will not fix defense without fixing nondefense spending.”

This veto threat encouraged Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to be even more dismissive, proclaiming to reporters who asked about the bill yesterday, “I think it really is kind of a waste of time.”

The Hill reports, “The White House has threatened to veto the bill, which sets out broad spending and policy for the Defense Department. Because of the veto threat, Reid told reporters on Tuesday that taking up the NDAA in June ‘really is kind of a waste of time.’

McConnell slammed Reid for the remark, saying that Democrats ‘want to punish the men and women of our military.’ ‘The assumption, I guess, is his party isn't getting its way on other partisan demands completely unrelated to the bill,’ he added.

“McConnell's decision to bring the defense bill to the floor in June is a shift from recent years when lawmakers have worked to finish the legislation at the end of the year.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) added in a floor speech, “This stands in stark contrast to the last two years under Democratic leadership when this body failed to take up the NDAA until the very end of the year, at the last minute, and with no amendments allowed. And just yesterday, the Democratic Leader said considering this vital defense bill is just a ‘waste of time.’ Those comments must have been very disappointing to servicemembers, retirees, and their families in his home state of Nevada who understand the importance of this legislation.”

He also criticized the White House’s veto threat, saying, “This is misguided and irresponsible. With global threats rising, how does it make any sense to oppose a defense policy bill – legislation that spends no money but is full of vital authorities that our troops need – for a reason that has nothing to do with national defense spending? The NDAA should not be treated as a hostage in a budget negotiation. . . . If the President and some of my colleagues oppose the NDAA due to concerns over non-defense spending, I suspect they will have a very difficult time explaining and justifying that choice to Americans who increasingly cite national security as a top concern.”

As Leader McConnell said yesterday in a speech blasting the Obama Administration’s irresponsible and ideological approach to national security, “The President is threatening to veto the Defense bill unless we increase funding for the IRS and EPA.”

He elaborated today, “We understand that some . . . Democrat . . . might be so determined to increase spending for Washington's bureaucracies that, to achieve it, they'd even risk support for our men and women in uniform in the face of so many global threats. . . . [T]o deny brave service members the benefits they’ve earned putting everything on the line for each one of us, for these partisan reasons — it would be profoundly unfair to our troops.”

Tags: Military Appropriations Bill, Reid declares, Waste of Time, President threatens veto.  wants unrelated spending for other agencies,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:30 PM - Post Link

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