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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Need To Fund The Government And Pass The Annual National Defense Authorization Act

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the need to pass both a government funding bill and the annual National Defense Authorization Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

There is a lot of work to get done in this chamber today and for the rest of this week—and Democrats are committed to working with the other side in good faith to get them done.

First, we need to fund the government before the December 3rd deadline. On that front, negotiations continue on a bipartisan, bicameral basis and we are making good progress towards passing a funding measure.

When a CR reaches the Senate, Democrats are going to support it and work to pass it as quickly as possible.

Our Republican colleagues, meanwhile, can either work with us to move the process quickly through the chamber or they can engage in obstructive tactics that will make a government shutdown almost a certainty.

Sadly, this second option seems to be the path that a few on the other side are choosing, and I hope they see the light quickly and not cause a needless, Republican government shutdown.

If every member of this chamber used the threat of a shutdown to secure concessions on their own interests, that would lead to chaos for the millions and millions of Americans who rely on a functioning government.

So I urge those Republicans who are thinking of poisoning this entire process for their own items to take a step back. There are other arenas and opportunities to have a debate. In the meantime we have a responsibility—a responsibility—to fund the government so it can fulfill its basic duties to serve the American people.

We also have a responsibility to support our troops, support their families, and keep Americans safe by passing our annual defense bill. On that front, we also need bipartisan cooperation.

Last night, both parties ran a hot-line in order to reach consent on holding floor votes on 21 amendments to the NDAA.

This even more amendments than Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe offered a few weeks ago. To put this proposal in historical context: in the first year under President Trump, the Senate held votes on twenty-two amendments on all legislation.

Not only that, our latest proposal also includes votes on the items Senator McConnell said, just yesterday, were “the only reason that [Republicans] pushed the pause button on this bill.”

Well, it’s time for Republicans to hit the play button. Democrats have been exceedingly reasonable by offering robust amendments with ample input from the other side of the aisle.

Again, let me repeat: we have more amendments on the floor that we've offered on this NDAA bill than the total amount of amendments for four years under Leader McConnell on the NDAA bill, more here now.

People say we're moving too quickly, but you know what we did on those [previous NDAA] bills?

We sat on the floor for days without doing anything.

We sat on the floor the last few weeks getting nominations through, even as difficult as some others are making it.

So to sit on the floor and do nothing – and then only do three amendments over two weeks – didn’t make sense. Here we have 21 amendments that we're willing to do, [which is again] more than all the total amendments on the four NDAA bills that passed in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 when McConnell was leader and Donald Trump was president.

So let us get to voting today. Let the Republicans hit the play button. Democrats have been exceedingly reasonable by offering robust process with ample input from are the other side.

Democrats want to get this done, I know many on the other side want to get this done as well, that’s good —and we will keep working until we have a deal to move forward.