Despite bipartisan efforts to craft the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2016, the annual bill that funds the national defense operations, Senate Democrats have threatened to block the funding measure unless Republicans agree to their demands to increase spending on domestic programs.
“They are aiming to condition the ability of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines to defend our nation on their demand for more funding for the wasteful federal bureaucracy that already costs far too much,” said Senator Hatch in a floor speech calling for swift passage of NDAA given growing threats on the world stage. "This bill provides for our national security needs across a wide variety of fronts, including programs to aid allies such as Ukraine and Iraq that face aggression; compensation for the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom; restructuring to improve readiness; authority to procure a wide range of new weapons systems such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that are crucial to maintaining our defense capabilities; and acquisition reform to restore accountability to defense contracting and make the money we spend go further.”
Republicans, including Hatch, point to how the NDAA sets funding at the precise level requested by President Obama—$604 billion—yet Senate Democrats continue to threaten a filibuster. Hatch urged Senate Democrats to abandon their efforts to hijack the defense bill at a time of such serious danger. “Mr. President, I urge my friends in the minority: do not give in to the temptation of partisan grandstanding; do not let this become another exercise in political brinksmanship; do not place a desire to fight the majority over our shared duty to keep this country safe; and do not jeopardize our men and women in uniform to win concessions for yet more domestic spending. Work with us. Embrace the funding levels that the Obama administration believes are necessary to keep us safe. And keep alive our proud tradition of placing national security ahead of partisan politics.”