U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) spoke at a press conference about the NDAA this afternoon.
McConnell: Well, good afternoon everyone. I know there are a lot of things going on in other parts of the world, but here in the Senate, we are trying to finish up the National Defense Authorization Act this week and I've invited Senator Inhofe, who is managing the bill for us, to give you an update on where we are.
Inhofe: Okay, thank you Leader. First of all, we have to make this very clear that this is the John McCain bill and he's been very active in it. Now, he hasn't been here, but his provisions are in there and consequently this is one that—that's the reason we named the bill after him.
I think it's important for people to understand—the bill's going to pass. I don't know if it's going to be this week or next week, or when it's going to pass, but it's passed for 57 consecutive years and it's going to pass again. But, it's a little bit different this time, as we kind of spent the last ten years not really building up the military, keeping up with our competition.
We have peer competition out there and it's serious. General Dunford said—these are his words—he said "we are losing our qualitative and quantitative advantage." And now, we're losing that too as you've heard our president say to Russia and to China. And China, right now, you know it's happening in the South China Sea. They’re building these islands out there illegally. It's something they should not be doing, but they are showing a strength so that our allies in that area think that they're preparing for World War III.
So, it's a very serious thing. We are not ahead. Most of us like to go back home where the real people are and talk about what is—that we have the very best of everything in our military. Well, we've been able to say that until fairly recently. We don't anymore. Artillery is measured by rapid fire and by range. Right now, both Russia and China are ahead of us.
The hypersonic—a new type of a weapon that operates at five times the speed of sound. Right now, we're making progress on it, but China and Russia are both ahead of us. The same thing is true with the Triad.
So, we're not number one anymore and we're going to get there and this bill, I think, is very important and we want more amendments, we want an open amendment process. We're hoping to get to open amendments, but we have to say that we actually considered 300 amendments in our bill during the mark up. And so, we've been that route and we're going to—we have a manager's package that we have some 45 bipartisan amendments in.
I just came back from visiting our troops in Afghanistan, Ukraine and all around the world and these guys are depending on us to get the most significant, most important bill every year, to get that passed and to get it passed soon. I think the longer we delay it, the more they’re going to put a negative spin on that. We don't want that to happen, so I consider this to be the most important bill each year and we're going to get it passed.