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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Senate’s Continued Progress On The Bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the National Defense Authorization Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Today the Senate will continue to process the National Defense Authorization Act, the NDAA. I believe we’ve had a really good process so far, and I hope this bipartisan work can get us through to finish soon as possible.

We made good progress on amendments last night. It took a while, but we have voted on 19 amendments to the NDAA, and have at least eight more amendment votes lined up for today.

We have a lot of votes to get through, so I urge Senators, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to be cooperative, to remain in the Senate chamber as the series of votes progresses through the afternoon so we can keep the process moving.

Last night, we ran a hotline that includes a few additional votes and a manager’s package of 48 amendments: 23 from Democrats, 23 from Republicans, and two bipartisan. Each side of the aisle has amendments they really want in that manager’s package and a good number of them were bipartisan.

We’ve had an open and constructive amendment process for the NDAA, with both sides, both sides, working together in good faith. This is exactly how the process for the NDAA should look – bipartisan, cooperative. I want to thank all of my colleagues, particularly Senators Reed and Wicker, for their good work.

I’m also proud of our first manager’s package that had 51 amendments – 21 from Republicans, 21 from Democrats, and 9 bipartisan.

And some of the biggest accomplishments in this bill, I’m proud to say, are broadly bipartisan, like progress on our efforts to outcompete the Chinese government.

As I’ve been saying for weeks, passing the NDAA is a chance to show the American people how the Senate can productively work.

Another really important thing that's in this bill is the Fend Off Fentanyl Act, which will give the Administration the tools it needs, including emergency powers, to stop the precursor drugs from flowing out of China. The Chinese government has done virtually nothing to help us thus far, going to Mexico, being into fentanyl, and then being shipped to the United States to kill our children – over 100,000 killed, 100,000 people have died from fentanyl last year. So, as I’ve been saying for weeks, the NDAA is a chance to show the American people the Senate can work productively on significant things they care about, as well as on national security matters, which they care about as well. 

What’s happening in the Senate is a stark contrast to the partisan race to the bottom we saw in the House, where House Republicans are pushing partisan legislation that has zero chance of passing.

House Republicans should look to the Senate to see how things get done. We are passing important bipartisan legislation. They are throwing on the floor partisan legislation that has no chance of passing. The contrast is glaring, and if House Republicans would look to how we're working here in the Senate and emulate us a little more, they could be far more productive.

We have every reason today to believe that we can finish the NDAA as soon as possible, and I’m hopeful we can get it done.