DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION -- (Senate - September 10, 2008)
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, we have a limited number of workdays between now and November, so we will obviously have to focus our priorities starting with the Defense authorization bill which the distinguished majority leader was just discussing, which is now before us. Among other things, the bill authorizes a much deserved pay raise for America's military men and women. Of course, an authorization bill only gets us halfway there. In order for this military pay raise to reach the families it is intended for, the Senate will need to pass an appropriations bill as well. So my suggestion is that we begin processing amendments to the Defense bill today, as the majority leader has indicated, starting with the first four amendments which will be voted on later today. We weren't, unfortunately, able to vote on any amendments yesterday. As everyone knows, the Defense bill is typically a heavily amended bill. It usually takes 2 or 3 weeks to complete, but it is my hope we can make some good forward progress today. Kentucky is home to two major military installations and more than 357,000 veterans. They, and the rest of America's veterans, deserve our full attention.
We have time but not a lot of time. Tomorrow, we will be taking some time out to remember the 9/11 attacks. Friday, we have an all-day energy summit. So let's use our time wisely. If we do, it is my hope we can work together and, with cooperation, finish this bill, at least early next week.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.