Our Military Can't Afford a Shutdown

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) spoke on the Senate floor today about how the Democrat shutdown will harm our military.

Key Excerpts: 

“I have been through every shutdown in the last 30 years. This is the first time there can be no question if you want to say whose fault it is…it is the Democrats.

“Let me tell you, Mr. President, I don’t know of one Republican serving in the United States Senate that isn’t very sympathetic to the [DACA] kids, and particularly the ones who were not here by their own choice. They didn’t personally violate any laws. We want to take care of them. We’re going to take care of them. Our president is going to take care of them. …

“Yesterday, it was Secretary Mattis. He was very clear…he said a shutdown would have a ‘terrible impact’ on two million men, women and their families who serve in our military. A terrible impact. Now, there are approximately 200,000 troops currently forward deployed who are now doing their jobs without pay. Secretary Mattis said all maintenance operations for the military will cease as long as there is a shutdown. That’s all maintenance. When you go through a starvation diet as we have over eight years of the previous administration, the first thing that is always hit is maintenance because that’s not obvious. …

“In Oklahoma, we especially know what’s important – our civilian workforce. The civilian workforce, by the way, in a shutdown is going to be out of business…Tinker, the Air Force depot that performs the maintenance and overhauls our planes, they’re going to be shut down. We have another one in McAlester, Oklahoma. It’s one that has all civilian employees. We have one uniformed officer and all the rest of them are civilian employees… Over half of the civilian workforce will be sent home and those projects will be halted. The impact will ripple for weeks and potentially months beyond the shutdown; once we open back up there will be a high cost of catching back up and getting things back on schedule.

“We have to recognize we’re in this threatened position, and a lot of Democrats have long claimed support for the military, but when the rubber meets the road, they have the problem that was established when President Obama was president—that we’re not going to do anything for the military to rebuild the military unless we put an equal amount of money into the nondefense programs.…

“I sometimes tell people that up until 1964 we were spending half of all the revenues that came into the federal government on defending America. And that’s what we’re supposed to be doing…You know what it is now, Mr. President? It is 15 percent. So we’re only devoting 15 percent of our total revenues to defending America. …

“The one thing that shouldn’t happen at in this time in our history is to have a shutdown. I think about my state of Oklahoma. Six hundred and sixty-three (663) Oklahoma Army National Guard soldiers are being sent home from planned training. Over 100,000 National Guardsmen are being sent home around the country…

“As we face threats from North Korea, Iran, Islamic extremism and Russian aggression-- not to mention our severe readiness crisis-- we can’t afford the negative effects of a shutdown.”