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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008 -- (Senate - September 27, 2007)

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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I wish to proceed for a few moments with my leader time and say to my good friend the majority leader, I know it is customary for him to speak last, but I was unavoidably detained from getting to the floor and wanted to make a couple of observations about the Kennedy amendment on my leader time.

A vote for Senator Kennedy's hate crime amendment regretfully puts this whole bill in jeopardy. The only way to ensure we have a Defense authorization bill this year is to vote against the Kennedy amendment. There are too many important Defense provisions in the bill that are at risk because of a controversial, nongermane amendment dealing with social policy.

Among the items at risk, the Wounded Warriors provision, the pay raise, acquisition reform, and many other important Defense provisions, all are put at risk by the adoption of the Kennedy amendment.

We have now gone through a long exercise debating Iraq amendments and nongermane amendments related to the social agenda of the other side. But what are we trying to accomplish here? Do we want to protect the defense policy matters in this bill that actually matter to our forces in the field, or do we want to debate political and social issues on this measure? The Senate has been on record all year that we will not cut off funding for our troops in the field and that we need to do more to help our wounded warriors returning from the war. Let us not sacrifice the bipartisan work of the committee for an amendment that is not relevant to the underlying bill.

I hope the Kennedy amendment will be defeated.

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