Aug 01 2018

VIDEO: Blunt Votes to Pass National Defense Authorization Act

WASHINGTON – After voting in favor of the FY2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) took to the Senate floor to outline the critical defense priorities included in the bill. Blunt noted that the bill includes $716 billion in total authorization, providing for the resources, equipment, and training necessary to rebuild the military. Blunt also highlighted the 2.6 percent military pay raise included in the measure, which is the largest pay raise for our service members in nearly 10 years. The NDAA also authorizes multiyear procurement authority for F/A-18 Super Hornets, which are manufactured in St. Louis.

Following are Excerpts from Blunt’s Remarks:

“Mr. President, today the Senate overwhelmingly supported the conference report for the 2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. That bill is now on the way to the president's desk. And, Mr. President, many Americans have bravely fought to uphold the values that our country holds dear. Many people in the Senate have been stalwart supporters of the military during their time here, but the legislation we passed today is named for one of these senators. Our colleague from Arizona, the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator McCain. Senator McCain not only has given much of his life in military service, but he has given tirelessly in service to the country himself, in so many ways, including service here. …

“One of the principal responsibilities that we have is to defend the country. It's the one job the federal government does that almost no American will argue that somebody else could do that better, either personally or at a different level of government. It's the number one priority I think of the federal government, and this bill addresses that priority. Now in our state, we have Whiteman Air Force Base, we have Fort Leonard Wood, Rosecrans Air National Guard Base where people from all over the world come to train on how to use the C-130's, we have a AVCRAD facility, a National Guard facility in Springfield, Missouri, that repairs helicopters for the armed services and saves a lot of money in doing that. We're the home of the National Geospatial Agency's western headquarters, and proud to be. Missourians serve in uniform and proud to serve, Missourians serve in other ways, and all of those organizations I have just mentioned, and they are proud to do that as well.

“The people who serve in the military, the people who served in the intelligence branch of our government really are increasingly challenged. I think the missions we have around the world, the challenges we have around the world, the national security threats we have around the world, as you know from your job as Foreign Affairs Chairman, are as complex and complicated and multifaceted as they have ever been. Some have said more threats from more directions, in more ways than any other time, and I think this bill begins to recognize that, tries to recognize that, understands that to remain successful, America has to have a military that creates a military advantage. …

“This National Defense Authorization Act authorizes the necessary investments and establishes the policies to carry out our National Defense Strategy. First and foremost, President Trump and his administration have prioritized rebuilding the military. This bill, with a total of $716 billion in authorization provides the resources, the equipment, and the training necessary to do so. Now, for two years in a row, we have authorized a substantial increase in defense spending. We'll have a chance when we get back in a week or so to bring the defense appropriating bill to the floor, which hopefully will be the second year in a row that our defense spending has matched the plan that's been authorized. This defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, provides our service members with a pay raise, the biggest pay raise in 10 years, 2.6 percent. Our troops and their families make a tremendous sacrifice to serve. They move often on a minute's notice, but in the last year's legislation, we gave more flexibility to families on that topic, but still when you're in the military, you know you're not likely to be wherever you are for very long, and that increase in pay is something that we should be pleased about as a country. This bill authorizes critical multiyear procurement authority. Now why does that matter?... It allows people to plan, allows people in the military to plan, not only what they are getting this year, but how that gives them the ability to build on that next year. The Super Hornets, for instance, that are made in St. Louis, Missouri. We have been using those at pretty high volume with desert warfare. …

“This bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, contains modernization language for the foreign investment in the United States’ effort to look at what national security issue may be at risk when a foreign company is able to buy the company or a technology of an American company. The National Defense Strategy, in addition to China, also says that Russia seeks to shatter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and change European and Middle-East security and economic structures in its favor, also not in our advantage nor in the advantage of those in the world that will be affected by it. Russia has violated key arms control treaties, it's expanded and modernized its nuclear arsenal sometimes outside agreements that have been made. It's tested counter space weapons. It's used emerging technologies. It's undermined our election process. It's infiltrated the way that we communicate with each other in social media. It has confronted elections of our NATO allies and others. And I think this bill shows not only a firm commitment to NATO, but a firm commitment to Article 5, which means that any NATO country when attacked will have the other NATO countries come to its help and aid.

“Additionally, this bill authorizes that important resources and policies are there to counter North Korea, to counter Iran, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Syria, and others that we should be concerned about as they oppress the people of their countries and try to expand their oppressive governments to other places. This bill recognizes the critical importance of our allies and our partners around the globe so that we can be willing to stand together and to advance shared values and goals. The men and women that serve us in uniform, the men and women that serve us in the intelligence agencies, the men and women, the civilian employees that come every day to be part of that defense and intelligence structure work hard for America. This bill shows that we appreciate that work. The overwhelming vote today on this bill in the Senate verifies that, and the president's signature soon to follow, will set a blueprint that allows us to do the number-one job of the federal government, to defend the United States of America.”

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