Senate Democrats

Reid Remarks On The Defense Authorization Bill, Nominations

“For more than 50 years in a row the United States Senate has passed the National Defense Authorization Act. This year will not be the exception. This tradition indicates the respect and gratitude with which the members of this institution regard the members of our military.” 

“The Senate will finish its work – our constitutional duty – before we leave for the holidays. The public servants who set our nation’s monetary policy, guard it against terrorism and deliver its justice do not hold  ‘non-essential’ positions.” 

“With all the Republican obstruction and delay we have seen over the last two weeks, is it any wonder Democrats changed the rules last month? Even under these new rules, Republicans are wasting weeks on matters that could be resolved in mere hours.”

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Defense Authorization Bill and confirmation of qualified nominees.  Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery: 

For more than 50 years in a row the United States Senate has passed the National Defense Authorization Act. This year will not be the exception. This tradition indicates the respect and gratitude with which the members of this institution regard the members of our military.

Today the Senate continues debate on this critical measure, which safeguards our nation and ensures our troops have the resources and training they need. This bill includes a pay raise for members of the Armed Forces and reauthorizes dozens of special pay rates and bonuses, such as bonus payments for service members who are stationed overseas. This legislation also supports the military families who support the mission of our fighting men and women. And this year the Defense Authorization Act also includes robust new provisions to combat sexual assault in the military and guarantee perpetrators are punished.

With cooperation, the Senate could easily pass this bill today. With cooperation, the Senate could also consider a number of pending nominations today and Friday. But without cooperation from our Republican colleagues, Senators should expect late night and weekend votes.

After we complete work on the Defense Authorization bill this body will consider several essential nominations, including a new Federal Reserve chairman, a deputy secretary of Homeland Security and a new director of the Internal Revenue Service. We will also consider the nomination that has been pending for two years – the nomination of Brian Davis of Florida to fill a judicial seat that has been declared an emergency – as well a handful of other nominations.

All these nominees are qualified and dedicated public servants. All these nominees have broad, bipartisan support. And their positions safeguarding our economy and ensuring our national security are vital.

I am disappointed that several Republican Senators have suggested that these nominees are non-essential or unimportant, and could easily be held over until next year.

Everyone should understand that the Senate will not wait until the New Year to consider these nominations. If that means working through the weekend and into next week, so be it. The Senate will finish its work – our constitutional duty – before we leave for the holidays. The public servants who set our nation’s monetary policy, guard it against terrorism and deliver its justice do not hold “non-essential” positions.

With all the Republican obstruction and delay we have seen over the last two weeks, is it any wonder Democrats changed the rules last month? Even under these new rules, Republicans are wasting weeks on matters that could be resolved in mere hours.

As always, there is an easy way and a hard way to do this. So far, my Republican colleagues have chosen the hard way. They have chosen to obstruct. Their obstruction has become a bad habit. And it’s time to kick the habit.

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