Democrats are trying to load up a defense bill with unrelated items, jeopardizing the passage of legislation that has passed for more than 60 years on a bipartisan basis.
“The real inside story here is what Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are doing to try to hold this defense bill hostage. We pass it every year,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Fox News on Tuesday.
“We pass it every year for 60 years. It’s vital for our national security and for our troops. They want to add on all kinds of extraneous non defense measures like a payoff for liberal media companies to form a cartel to work with Big Tech that’ll hurt center-right media outlets, or allowing marijuana distributors to engage in the banking system, or paying off Joe Manchin for his vote for their trillion dollar bill spending bill this summer,” he added.
“None of these have anything to do with our troops in it. The Democrats insist on adding these extraneous measures to the defense bill,” he added.
The National Defense Authorization Act — known as the NDAA — is a yearly bill that Congress passes to authorize the activities, policies, and spending by the Department of Defense.
It is seen has yearly “must-pass” legislation, since it authorizes the DOD to conduct its day-to-day business, including everything from paying troops, beginning new weapons programs, and carrying out policy.
It has passed for 62 years without fail — one of the rare pieces of legislation to do so. However, this year, Democrats see the bill as a last-ditch vehicle to push through policies and reforms it will not be able to once Republicans take the House beginning January 3, 2023.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also blasted Democrats for their attempt to fill the bill with unrelated items in what is known as a “Christmas tree” bill.
“House and Senate Democrats are still obstructing efforts to close out the NDAA by trying to jam in unrelated items with no relationship whatsoever to defense, we’re talking about a grab bag of miscellaneous pet priorities,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
“My colleagues across the aisle need to cut their unrelated hostage taking and put a bipartisan bill on the floor,” he said.
Democrats are trying to include the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would allow mainstream media outlets to form a cartel to negotiate with Big Tech, to the detriment of independent and conservative media outlets.
Another item is the SAFE Banking Act, pushed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), backed by some Republicans. The bill would let cannabis companies access banking institutions and create grants for state expungement of past marijuana convictions, according to Axios.
Another is the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, sponsored by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), which seeks to “eliminate discrimination and promote women’s health and economic security” for workers limited by “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition; and for other purposes.”
Democrats are also trying to attach a permitting bill sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) that would change the permitting process for energy infrastructure and transport natural gas from his home state to Virginia.
Cotton urged his fellow Republican senators to filibuster the bill if the unrelated items are not stripped.
“Republican senators should filibuster it. And frankly House Republicans whose votes are necessary to pass in the house should not vote for it either until the Democrats back down and send pass a defense bill that is actually focused on our national security and supporting our troops in,” he said.
The bill was due to be unveiled on Monday and to be voted on Wednesday, but the last-minute effort to push through unrelated items has slowed the bill down.
“We’re still waiting for Democrat leadership to decide whether they want to attach unrelated legislation that will kill the bill,” a congressional aide told Breitbart News on Tuesday afternoon.