Click here or on the picture above to watch Thune’s speech.
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the defense appropriations bill, legislation that ensures our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to defend our country. The bill has been filibustered by Senate Democrats the last two times it was considered on the Senate floor.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, our most fundamental responsibility as members of Congress is to provide for our nation’s defense.
“And a big part of that is ensuring that our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to defend our country.
“That means, of course, that we have to ensure that our military receives adequate funding to meet today’s priorities and prepare for the threats of the future.
“And it also means that we need to ensure that our military receives timely funding.
“Our military doesn’t just need sufficient funding to cover defense priorities; it also needs to receive that money on time, on a predictable schedule.
“That means passing the defense appropriations bill before the end of each fiscal year, instead of forcing the military to rely on temporary funding measures that leave the military in doubt about funding levels and unable to start important new projects.
“Mr. President, right now, we’re almost two full months into the 2020 fiscal year.
“We should have passed the defense appropriations bill by the end of September.
“But we didn’t.
“Because unfortunately our Democrat colleagues were unable to resist the chance to pick yet another fight with the president.
“Mr. President, this wasn’t supposed to happen.
“At the end of the summer, congressional leaders of both parties and the president reached an agreement on funding levels for 2020 and 2021.
“Leaders also agreed on a number of guidelines for appropriations bills, including a ban on “poison pills” intended to derail appropriations legislation.
“The idea behind this agreement was to pave the way for the timely passage of appropriations bills and prevent the kind of situation we’re in right now – almost two months behind on passing defense and other funding.
“But unfortunately Democrats chose to renege on this agreement.
“Senate Democrats are currently holding up defense funding by insisting on the type of poison pills they promised to forgo just a few months ago.
“The leader has attempted to bring up the defense appropriations bill twice, and both times Senate Democrats have filibustered the legislation.
“It’s deeply disappointing, Mr. President.
“I understand that my Democrat colleagues are looking for any opportunity to pick a fight with the president.
“But funding for our men and women in uniform should not be subjected to Democrats’ partisan whims.
“Thanks to Democrats, right now our military is operating under a continuing resolution that leaves the military short of the funding it needs for the 2020 fiscal year.
“That has real consequences.
“In addition to leaving the military underfunded, a continuing resolution prevents the military from starting key projects that will help ensure our men and women in uniform are prepared to meet the threats of the future.
“The Pentagon can’t start new procurement projects.
“New research and development initiatives that keep us a step ahead of our adversaries are put on hold.
“All told, under a continuing resolution, the military’s purchasing power is reduced by roughly $5 billion each quarter.
“To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of losing out on about 56 Joint Strike Fighter planes, depending on the variant, every three months.
“That $5 billion the Pentagon is going without is urgently needed funding for critical military priorities.
“And the longer the Pentagon goes without this funding, the greater the consequences for our military preparedness.
“Mr. President, playing politics with our national defense is unacceptable.
“We owe our men and women in uniform timely, reliable, adequate defense funding.
“And we owe every man, woman, and child in the United States the same thing.
“The safety of every person in this country depends on the strength of our military.
“I hope that at least some of my Democrat colleagues will see their way to joining Republicans to get this year’s defense appropriations bill to the president’s desk.
“It’s time to get our men and women in uniform the funding they need.”