Defense Authorizationby Senator Harry Reid
Posted on 2013-12-19
REID. Mr. President, for more than 50 years consecutively; that
is, 50 years in a row every year, the United States has passed the
National Defense Authorization Act. This year is not going to be an
exception. This tradition indicates the respect and gratitude with
which Members of this institution regard the members of our military.
The work to get to this point has been extremely difficult. We have had the usual good work by one of the finest Senators ever, the senior Senator from Michigan, and also the cooperation and hard work of the ranking member of the committee, the senior Senator from the State of Oklahoma. It has been with some difficulty.
The Senator from Oklahoma has had physical problems and the tragic loss of his son in an unfortunate airplane accident. These two men have continued to move forward with this legislation. It is important to mention their counterparts in the House. This is an important piece of legislation that we are going to vote on.
Today, the Senate will continue debate on this critical measure which safeguards our Nation and ensures our troops have the resources and training they need. This bill includes a pay raise for members of the Armed Forces and reauthorizes dozens of special pay raises and bonuses, such as the bonus payment for servicemembers who are stationed overseas.
This legislation also supports military families who support the mission of our fighting men and women. Also, yesterday, we passed the Ryan-Murray budget--very important--because, among other things, it did away with the sequester, which would have been--if that second year would have kicked in, it would have been a $23 billion hit to the United States military. That is gone.
This year the National Defense Authorization Act also includes robust new provisions to combat sexual assault in the military and guarantee that the perpetrators are punished.
With cooperation, the Senate could easily pass this bill today. We could have done it last evening. With cooperation, the Senate could also consider a number of pending nominations today and Friday. Without cooperation from our Republican colleagues, Senators should expect late night and weekend votes.