Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today after Senate Republicans blocked a motion to open debate on the Defense Authorization bill, which funds critical assistance for our troops, repeals the discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, and enacts the Dream Act:
"Today, Senate Republicans put partisan politics ahead of our troops, our security, and our values. In not even allowing debate on this vital piece of legislation, Republicans are playing games with our national defense, blocking measures to strengthen our military, and denying our troops critical equipment and resources to do their jobs.
"While our servicemembers fight in the trenches for the core American ideals of freedom and equality, not one single Republican broke ranks to uphold an issue of fundamental fairness. Their opposition to repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell' keeps capable, willing, and dedicated young men and women from joining our armed forces at a time when we can least afford it. And it betrays our best hopes to end discrimination in our country's military.
"In casting a vote against the defense bill, Republicans also betrayed our history of generations of immigrants who came to our shores seeking a better life and striving to take part in the American dream. The Dream Act would allow hundreds of thousands of young people to get an education and serve in our military. And it is a critical step toward our ultimate goal: comprehensive immigration reform.
"Our men and women in uniform volunteer to put their lives in harm's way so we can be secure and free. Their choice to serve keeps us safe. And we must pass the Defense Authorization bill to honor their sacrifice, maintain military readiness, and uphold our commitment to equality."