Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today released the following statement on the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the Senate today:
“I am pleased that the Senate finally passed Carl Levin and Howard P. "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (NDAA) and urge President Obama sign this important legislation into law as soon as possible.
“I thank and congratulate Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin and House Armed Services Committee Buck McKeon for once again passing the NDAA this year – their last as committee leaders. I commend their long, distinguished record of service to strengthening the security of our nation, and to supporting the men and women charged with defending it.
“While the process and timeline by which this legislation was considered was not ideal, there are many provisions that I am particularly proud of, including those that do the following:
- “Protect the A-10 aircraft, our nation’s best close-air support aircraft. The Air Force originally proposed retiring over 100 A-10s this year and this NDAA would prevent the Air Force from retiring any planes next year;
- “Prohibit effectively US taxpayer dollars from being used to buy any more rocket engines from Russia and instead increasing competition with American space companies;
- “Ensure the Tomahawk strike missile and industrial base can respond to worldwide threats;
- “Provide additional oversight for the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), Gerald R. Ford Class Aircraft Carrier, and dozens of major defense acquisition programs. Specifically, the bill prohibits funding for the next multi-ship buy as well as mission modules of LCS until the Navy and the Department of Defense deliver to Congress certifications that the ships will meet the requirements of combatant commanders;
- “Provide authority to train and equip vetted, moderate Syrians;
- “State the sense of the Congress that the U.S. should provide lethal military assistance to Ukraine;
- “Provide security assistance funding authority to foreign nations to address global terrorist threats;
- “Provide a pay raise to all enlisted service members and all officers below the General and Admiral paygrades;
- “Consolidate the POW/MIA organizations at the Department into a single, more efficient and accountable command;
- “Spur potential increase in America's domestic production of copper – a strategic national interest – by moving forward the Resolution Copper mine project with potential to meet 25% of U.S. demand;
- “Provide insight into the nation-states most responsible for cyber-based economic espionage and the authority to punish those individuals who profit from cyber theft aimed at U.S. companies and innovation.
“In an unfortunate repeat of last year’s process and timeline, Majority Leader Reid’s repeated delays and unwillingness to allow an open amendment process or debate on the floor is a serious breach of the historical and Constitutional responsibilities of the U.S. Congress. This year’s bill passed the Armed Services Committee nearly unanimously over four months ago.
“By waiting until the last week that the Senate is in session and refusing to allow an open amendment process, he has effectively silenced debate on key issues vital to our national security. In January, when Republicans gain control of both chambers and if I have the great opportunity of leading the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am confident that we will return to the design of the Framers of the Constitution and restore the practice and principles that made the U.S. Senate the greatest deliberative body in the world. Anything less is a disservice to the men and women in uniform who are responsible for executing these policies and the taxpayers who pay for them.
“I am proud of the bipartisan work of the Armed Services Committees in crafting the National Defense Authorization Act. I look forward to returning to regular order next year and getting the bill on the Senate floor so that all Senators have a chance to debate and amend this critical legislation in service of the American people.”