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Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006--Conference Report

Location: Washingotn, DC



Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, today I joined many of my colleagues in opposing cloture on the Defense appropriations bill. Regrettably, I was forced to try and slow this bill down because language unrelated to our Nation's defense was inserted into the bill. In a cynical attempt to authorize drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, language that in the past has been filibustered, was included in the Defense bill. Using our men and women in the military as a shield, the ANWR bill was put in the Defense bill in a parliamentary game of chicken. Supporters of drilling in ANWR believed that if they included this language in the Defense bill, opponents of drilling in ANWR would never vote to hold up the Defense bill. They were wrong.

I do not enjoy opposing a Defense bill while we have troops in harm's way, but the principle at stake here was too important. We will be sorry if we set the precedent that unpopular provisions can just be rolled into the bill that funds our defense. In the long run, letting that cynical strategy proliferate will hurt our country and the institution of the Senate.

So today, when I opposed cloture, it was not a reflection of my support of our military. I believe in our men and women in uniform and believe that this bill should have been passed months ago. Instead, I opposed cloture because I believe that we should not use the Defense bill as a Trojan Horse to slip through legislation that would not be able to survive under the normal rules of the Senate.

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