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Blunt Calls on Democrats to Support Critical Defense Bills

November 14, 2019

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, spoke on the Senate floor to urge House Democrats to move forward with defense funding and authorization bills. The bills support the largest military pay raise in a decade and include resources for Missouri and national defense priorities.

Following Are Excerpts From Blunt’s Remarks:

“And for those who have served and for those who are willing to serve, the one thing we can do in the Congress is pass the two pieces of legislation necessary to support that service. You know, today - unlike World War II, unlike many past conflicts - less than one half of 1% of the population serves in the military. So the other 99. 5% need to stand up and do what we can to be sure that our military is the best supported military in the world. …

“And so, you know, for 59 straight years, the Senate has passed the National Defense Authorization Act. This is the act that defines what the Congress believes should be the guiding principles for the military for that year. The places where money should be invested, the equipment that should be bought, the other changes that need to be made. And then the other bill we pass is the appropriations bill that takes that authorization bill and really puts the money by it that allows it to happen. So for 59 straight years, the only authorization act we pass every year, and I think we could have a real good debate as to why that's the most important of what we do, it's the most important thing the federal government does. We've done that, but we can't seem to get it done this year.

“That bill that has the biggest pay raise for people in the military in a decade is somehow being negotiated since roughly June the 27th of this year. This should have been a one-week effort, not a weeks and months effort. That bill has money in it that encourages spouses so when somebody is assigned to a new base, the spouse can go to work doing what they do as quick as they could possibly do it. Facilitating and expediting state certification. …

“So that's what happens in these bills, it supports the readiness center in Springfield, Missouri, it supports the vehicle maintenance facility at Whiteman Air Force Base, the C-130 flight simulator in Rosecrans. All those things we decided as a Senate need to happen. And now we need to decide as a Senate and a Congress how to make them happen. …

“Let's get them authorized. Let's appropriate the money. We're already weeks late. We don't need to be months late. Better to have the money the day you're supposed to have it if you're going to spend it as wisely as we hope you would be able to spend it. So, I join my colleagues today and I know you, Mr. President, saying we need to get this work done. It's critical. It's a priority and I’m glad to join my colleagues here on the floor fighting for those who fight for us.”

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