June 25, 2020
On Tuesday night, Senator Reed and I had the honor of filing S. 4049, the 60th annual National Defense Authorization Act.
This is one of the most important bills the Senate considers every year – and we know it’s going to pass, because Members understand what this bill is all about.
It’s about taking care of our troops and defending our country. That’s why this is a must-pass bill.
It’s fitting we’re doing this ahead of Fourth of July, our nation’s birthday. We wouldn’t have our freedoms without our men and women in uniform, past and present.
That’s why I hope we can all come together to finish this bill by next Thursday.
That’s going to take cooperation from all members.
Both Senator Reed and I would like to consider this bill with an open amendment process, so that all Senators have a chance to make their mark on this bill.
That said, I do want to highlight two things about this bill: It’s member-driven and it’s bipartisan — reflecting lots of input from members of both parties.
Here’s what that means:
Nearly half the bill came from Senators directly, through your Member Interest Letters.
The other half of the bill came from the Pentagon’s legislative proposals or recommendations from commissions established by previous NDAAs.
The rest of the bill is just good government.
What’s more is this bill is very bipartisan, with almost equal input from Republicans and Democrats.
The bill includes nearly 600 requests and amendments from members of the Armed Services Committee.
In addition, the bill includes nearly 200 requests from Senators who aren’t on the committee.
With your input already in there, I’m confident we have a solid bill that reflects the needs of our troops, the Pentagon, and this body.
Now, if we want to finish this bill before the end of next week, we need to reach a unanimous consent agreement before this Friday.
We also need to start working on any Manager’s Packages – the bipartisan set of amendments we can all agree on.My staff will be working over the weekend, with leadership and floor staff, to finalize the first Manager’s Package, so get your amendments filed early.
Now, in recent years, we haven’t been able to consider many amendments on the floor. As I said earlier, I’m hopeful we can change that this year.
If you have an amendment that you want to debate on the floor, please let us know as soon as possible, so we can try to work it in.
Lastly, as you are working through your amendments, please be thoughtful. We shouldn’t let this bill get bogged down by amendments that have nothing to do with national defense.
What’s most important here is that we take care of our men and women in uniform. They’re all volunteers, and they all deserve our support.
Again my message to you is to get your amendments filed as soon as possible.
As I noted, this is the 60th annual NDAA. The last 59 years, Congress has passed an NDAA – always on a bipartisan basis.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican – this bill is our sacred duty.
The House is marking up their bill in committee now, and will vote on it early next month.
We’ve got to move this ball down the field as well.
Thank you in advance for your hard work and for your support.
Senator Reed and I both look forward to making this the 60th straight year we enact an NDAA.