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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke at the Senate Republican Conference weekly press conference about the need for a robust amendment process while the Senate considers legislation concerning the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) related to Iraq. Thune also highlighted that Senate Republicans will continue demonstrating that the priorities in the president’s budget request are out of step with the American people’s as members of the president’s administration testify before Senate committees this week.
Thune’s remarks below:
“Good afternoon, everybody. I had the opportunity, as a number of my colleagues have had, to speak with Senator McConnell. He is in good spirits, doing well, and anxious to get back here, and we're anxious to have him back.
“This week, we are talking about the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs, or Authorizations for the Use of Military Force. There's legislation that would repeal both of those. And while I personally think they serve important legal and precedential functions when it comes to the War on Terror, there is a diversity of opinion among Republicans on that subject.
“But the one thing that we do agree on, is that we have got to have a strong national defense and that America has got to continue to provide leadership in the global War on Terror.
“The other thing we agree on is that this is an important policy matter, and that we need to make sure that we have a robust amendment process. And so, there are a number of amendments that have been proposed by members on our side, all of which I think get at the core issues around the AUMF. And so, I'm hopeful that we'll be able to have a robust amendment process and discussion about some of those issues before the bill is finally voted on.
“The one other thing I'll mention is, I think everybody knows that the president's budget is being considered by committees, not on the floor, but off the floor this week. And there are a number of our committees that are taking looks at various aspects of that.
“The one thing I think Republicans agree on is the president's budget spends too much, taxes too much, borrows too much, and underfunds our most important priority, which is national security. And so, our members will be making that argument in a, I think, a very expansive way over the course of the next few weeks as the president's budget is considered here.
“But I would also say that the Democrats who have been in the Senate attacking House Republicans for not having a budget haven't put a budget here together either. And we would welcome the opportunity, if they want to, to vote on the president's budget, because I think when the American people find out what's in it, they're going to hate it.”