Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of continuing to block defense funding after they voted down the government spending bill on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
“Democrats blocked the funding our commanders need to keep pace with Russia and China. Democrats blocked money for the tools and training that our men and women in uniform badly need,” he said in a statement released on Thursday.
Senate Democrats blocked debate on the Republican plans to advance an appropriations package including $639 billion in defense spending for fiscal 2020, claiming Senate GOP leaders were doing President Donald Trump’s bidding on the southern border wall.
“It does nothing to prevent the president from stealing billions of dollars more from our troops to pay for the president’s cynical campaign promise to build a gigantic wall across our southern border,” said top Appropriations Committee Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), according to The Associated Press.
McConnell criticized Democrats of shoehorning their dispute on immigration into debate on defense spending, saying, “Because Democratic leadership decided they saw more political upside in picking new fights with the president than in keeping their word and investing in our men and women in uniform.”
The Republican from Kentucky also mentioned that Democrats in the House and Senate all agreed in August to keep the appropriations process on track, adding that they “seemed to have a change of heart” to “spite the occupant of the White House.”
McConnell urged his Democratic colleagues to get back on track with bipartisan spirit, as he supported the Financial Services & General Government bill that will include a bipartisan amendment providing another $250 million to help states foster their election systems.
“I am proud to have helped develop this amendment and to co-sponsor it in committee,” he said. “That’s how we continue the progress we saw in 2018 and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
“I hope we can reboot this process and move forward for the sake of our Senate process, for the sake of stable funding for the federal government, and for the sake of our nation’s security,” McConnell concluded.