Alexander: Senate Democrats Continue to Block Defense Funding Bill

Says there is no justification for blocking funding that would have raised pay for Tennessee service members, provided $900 million for National Guard and Reserve Equipment

Posted on July 14, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14, 2016 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said Senate Democrats prevented the Senate for a second time from debating bipartisan legislation that would have strengthened national security and helped protect troops.

“This bill would provide a total of $574.5 billion for our national defense, including pay raises for our men and women in uniform, such as those serving at Fort Campbell and Naval Support Activity Mid-South,” Alexander said. “This legislation would also provide $900 million to help the members of the National Guard and Reserve get the equipment they need to carry out their missions. The bill would help keep our country and our troops safe in a way that’s consistent with the spending limits Congress set in the Budget Control Act and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. And yet, for the second time this year—and the fifth time in two years—Senate Democrats have played politics with our troop funding. I don’t know how they defend that when they go home.”

Alexander continued: “Why are Senate Democrats here if they don’t want to work on the important issues facing our country? The Republican Senate has had a very productive year – the most productive year in the Senate since 1990 – except for the appropriations process, which Democrats have stopped cold. This is especially baffling since Senate Democrats wrote Sen. McConnell a letter at the beginning of the year saying they wanted to restore regular order to the appropriations process.”

The House of Representatives passed its version of the Defense Appropriations Bill on June 16 by a vote of 282-138.

The Senate version of the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill would have provided funding for the following priorities that are important to Tennessee and to the nation:

  • A 1.6 percent pay raise for military personnel, including those stationed at Fort Campbell and Naval Support Activity Mid-South and support to 1,281,900 active duty troops and 801,200 reserve troops.
  • $900 million for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account, which would have helped the Guard and Reserve pay for new equipment and maintain and modernize existing equipment.
  • $25 million more than the president requested to continue the Special Victims Counsel Program to provide legal assistance and support to victims of sexual assault in the military.

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