Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe blasted Senate Democrats for holding a defense spending bill for 2020 “hostage” over their opposition to using military funding for the border wall.
Senate Democrats voted Wednesday against advancing the $693 billion Pentagon spending bill, making it likely Congress will not pass a full-year budget before the new fiscal year starts on October 1.
Instead, Congress will likely have to adopt a short-term spending bill known as a continuous resolution, which would give Congress more time to do so but not allow any new spending, which the Pentagon has said will cause delays in new programs and other problems.
Congress reached a bipartisan deal in July for a two year, $2.7 trillion budget for defense and non-defense spending.
However, Senate Democrats rejected the defense spending bill over the president’s decision to shift $3.6 billion in the Pentagon’s military construction fund to build 175 miles of border wall.
“Less than two short months ago, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan budget deal that set topline funding levels for the federal government. Yet, today, Senate Democrats won’t vote for funding that backs up these levels,” Inhofe said in a statement.
“Rather than fund our national defense and support our troops, they want to play politics, but we simply can’t afford to delay critical national security investments. The Democrats’ obstruction today pulls us closer to a potential continuing resolution, something our military leaders have told us time and time again is detrimental to the men and women who wear the uniform and our overall military readiness,” he said
Inhofe said the Democrats were holding the bill “hostage.”
“Additionally, the funding bills voted on today contain multiple provisions that would benefit defense and infrastructure projects in Oklahoma. It is irresponsible for Democrats to hold this bill hostage to their liberal agenda at the expense of projects that would benefit military families, including Impact Aid that supports local school districts and modernize critical inland waterways infrastructure, like the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.”