Senate Democrats are holding the 2016 defense bill hostage in hopes of getting more money for agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service that have abused their power, Sen. John Boozman said Saturday, and are risking "serious damage to our national and global security.'
"Unfortunately, Senate Democrats are working to stop funding these priorities that will keep the men and women of our military safe, protect our nation against security threats, and help us fight violence around the world," the Arkansas lawmaker said in this week's GOP address
. "This strategy to avoid Senate debate of the Defense Appropriations Bill risks serious damage to our national and global security."
Last week, Democrats blocked
the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill in the U.S. Senate as part of a campaign to force majority Republicans to start budget negotiations by refusing to allow any appropriations measure to advance to a final vote.
The 50-45 vote failed to achieve the 60 majority needed to advance to final passage, with all but one member of the Democratic caucus opposed moving ahead with the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell immediately filed a motion to keep the bill alive for further consideration.
Republicans and Democrats alike say they want to United States to maintain its military dominance, said Boozman, but such words "must be matched with action."
"We must take the necessary steps to protect our country from the evolving dangers facing our nation and its citizens and continue offering security to those people who face tyranny and oppression around the world," he said.
But to meet such threats, the military must be staffed and equipped with the newest technology, equipment and training, said Boozman. This means the Department of Defense must be provided with the resources that are needed for such updates.
"This is a priority for Senate Republicans," he said. "That’s why we are fulfilling the promise to make the Senate work for the American people and return to regular order."
He said that he and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee are prioritizing how taxpayer dollars should be spent, a responsibility that the Democratic-controlled Senate ignored.
"There should be no question that ensuring our service members have the training [and] equipment they need to fulfill their missions is a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars," Boozman said. "The role of the federal government is to defend our country and we must take appropriate steps to maintain the readiness of our troops."
The Defense Appropriations bill passed Appropriations with overwhelming bipartisan support, said Boozman, but Democrats are working to stop funding necessary military funding that will "keep the men and women of our military safe, protect our nation against security threats, and help us fight violence around the world."
Avoiding debate on the bill 'risks serious damage to our national and global security," Boozman said and blocking it is depriving service members of the supplies they need.
Congress last passed such legislation in 2006, he said, and enemies around the world are viewing the gridlock as a sign of weakness.
"This perception invites our enemies to create chaos and engage in aggressive, destabilizing behavior," he said. "Look no further than Russia’s actions in Eastern Ukraine as a prime example."
Boozman pointed out that his state is home to facilities that produce ammunition, explosives and more that are vital to combat operations.
"The protection of our troops and the safety and security of our nation is not a game, but Democrats are willing to play politics with our military to get more money for the agencies that have abused their power like the Environmental Protection Agency and the IRS," said Boozman. "There will be plenty of time to debate our domestic spending priorities. Now is not that time."
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