SASC Chairman Inhofe Speaks on NDAA Ahead of Passage Vote

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor in support of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2020.

As Prepared for Delivery:

In just a few minutes, the Senate will vote on final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.

Throughout the last week and a half, we have debated this legislation here on the Senate floor in a fair process. I want to thank my colleagues who support this bill and helped make it a better bill through the amendment process.

While I would have liked to have a more open process, I am pleased that we were able to clear and recommend 129 amendments as part of the bipartisan substitute amendment and manager’s package.

These include the annual Intelligence Authorization Act, the Maritime Administration Authorization Act and the Fentanyl Sanctions Act.

Ultimately, the job of the NDAA is to make tough choices about where we want to invest our resources.

We put our resources where it matters— taking care of our troops, implementing the National Defense Strategy, and applying the recommendations of the NDS Strategy Commission Report.

Everyone agrees—these are the things that must happen to continue rebuilding our military and maintain our combat advantage. That’s why our topline for defense is $750 billion.

Without that – we cannot achieve those goals we all know are necessary. And they also must happen as soon as possible. We can’t delay on this bill.

We’ve still got more work to do on the NDAA. We need to conference with the House, and get a conference report enacted by October 1. In the month of July we’ve also got to do our annual funding bills, and reach a budget deal.

These are some of Congress’s most important responsibilities. We’ve got to do them well and on time. And here’s why —

Two days ago, Master Sgt. Micheal B. Riley of Heilbronn, Germany, and Sgt. James G. Johnston of Trumansburg, New York, lost their lives in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan while engaged in combat operations.

Their service and sacrifice is a reminder of why this bill is so important. We’ve got to make sure that our troops have the best of everything. And they’ve got to know they have our full support wherever they are around the world.

Our prayers are with Master Sgt. Riley’s and Sgt. Johnston’s families and loved ones. We will never forget their service, and we will never forget that freedom isn’t free.

There is no doubt in my mind that the NDAA bill we are about to pass will give our troops what they need, make American families safer and enable us to stand up for our democratic values around the world.

I want to thank the Ranking Member, Sen. Reed, for being a true partner in this year’s bill, and all members of the Armed Services Committee for their work.

Finally – legislation like this can’t happen without the work of staff behind the scenes. I’d like to thank my staff from the Senate Armed Services Committee: John Bonsell; John Wason; Tom Goffus; Stephanie Barna; Diem  Salmon; Greg Lilly; Marta Hernandez; Jennie Wright; Adam Barker; Augusta Binns-Berkey; Al Edwards; Jackie Kerber; Sean O’Keefe; Tony Pankuch; Brad Patout; Jason Potter; J.R. Riordan; Katie Sutton; Eric Trager; Dustin Walker; Otis Winkler; Gwyneth Woolwine; Katie Magnus; Arthur Tellis; Leah Brewer; Debbie Chiarello; Gary Howard; Tyler Wilkinson; John Bryant; Patty-Jane Geller; Baher Iskander; Keri-Lyn Michalke; Jacqueline Modeset; and Soleil Sykes.

And from the minority side: Liz King; Jody Bennett; Carolyn Chuhta; Jon Clark; Jonathan Epstein; Jorie Feldman; Creighton Greene; Ozge Guzelsu; Gary Leeling; Kirk McConnell; Maggie McNamara; Bill Monahan; Mike Noblet; John Quirk; Arun Seraphin; and Fiona Tomlin.

From my personal office: Luke Holland; Andrew Forbes; Leacy Burke; Don Archer; Kyle Stewart; and Bryan Brody.

And lastly, from the floor staff: Laura Dove; Robert Duncan; Chris Tuck; Tony Hanagan; Katherine Kilroy; Brian Canfield; Abigail Baker; and Megan Mercer.

So now we will vote, and I look forward to this year’s NDAA passing for the 59th consecutive year with a strong bipartisan majority.