National Journal: “Dems Go Wobbly on Defense Bills”

Senate Democrats are going wobbly on defense spending bills, according to National Journal. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-MT) says it is time for the senate to get the job done so that the troops being sent to Iraq by President Obama have the equipment they need.

National Journal: Democrats Go Wobbly on Defense Bills; The defense authorization and appropriations bills use the same gimmick, so why are Democrats standing firm on one but not the other?

Senate Democrats were against defense authorization before they were for it. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, their message is mixed: They fully support the troops, but they really don’t like how Republicans are supporting the troops with contingency war funds.

Does that translate into a “no” vote or a “yes” vote? On the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets Pentagon policy, it’s a “yes.” On a Defense Department spending bill, it’s a “no.” The overseas contingency fund that Republicans are using to boost the Pentagon is acceptable to Democrats in a policy bill but not a spending bill.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is also seizing on Senate Dems’ wobble with this:

“It’s irresponsible and dangerous for Senate Democrats to filibuster funding for our troops because they want to send more money to the IRS,” said NRSC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek. “Protecting the safety of American families and our service members shouldn’t be a partisan political issue, but unfortunately Senate Democrats are playing partisan games and their behavior is endangering our national security.”

Last week, the spokeswoman for Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) expressed the concerns Tester had with supporting the defense funding bill.  Here’s what Marnee Banks had to say on Tester’s behalf:

The Republican majority is using both of these bills to hide nearly $40 billion (that’s with a B) in annual defense spending by tucking it away in an account that is used for wars, emergencies and other unexpected costs  (the account is named the Overseas Contingency Operations Account or, in Pentagon-speak, “OCO”).

Meanwhile, the funding battle drags on, even in the midst of headlines like this: Obama pulls US deeper into Iraq (The Hill)

Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-MT), the only veteran in the Montana Congressional Delegation, took Senate Democrats to task

Last week, I proudly voted for a defense funding bill that gives our troops the resources they need and the pay raises that they deserve. Unfortunately the reach of partisan politics in this city even overshadows fundamental American values like keeping our soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors safe at a time when ISIS is on the rise, and the President has admitted he has no strategy to defeat the terrorist organization.

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