October 17, 2019
“Last month, Senate Democrats blocked a key vote on the defense spending bill. We need to pass this bill to fully fund the Defense Department. By blocking the bill, Democrats are denying America’s troops the pay raises that they have earned and that they deserve.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke on the Senate floor about the partisan blockade of critical military funding for U.S. troops at home and abroad.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor today to discuss the current partisan blockade, and it is a blockade, of critical military funding for our troops at home and abroad.
“Last month, Senate Democrats blocked a key vote on the defense spending bill.
“We need to pass this bill to fully fund the Defense Department.
“By blocking the bill, Democrats are denying America’s troops the pay raises that they have earned and that they deserve.
“To add insult to injury, both parties in both houses agreed, agreed a couple of months ago, to give the troops this raise. We did it more than two months ago. In fact, it was part of the bipartisan budget deal that was signed in August.
“Democrats have been refusing to allow this to move. Republicans have moved it. We are keeping our promises to our all-volunteer American force. Still, Democrats have broken their promise to the troops.
“Why on earth would Democrats want to play political games with the paychecks of our troops’?
“Under the harshest conditions, these brave men and women defend our cherished freedoms 365 days a year.
“Our service members, they help keep us safe, they keep us strong, they keep us as a nation prosperous.
“Without a question, they deserve our full support and that support should be bipartisan. Why it isn’t right now, is beyond me.
“Recently, I had the privilege of visiting Wyoming troops, our Wyoming National Guard. We have a very large deployment, our largest in ten years. They’re serving in Kuwait. They’re serving in the United Arab Emirates. They’re serving in Kosovo. We have troop members serving as well in Afghanistan.
“We have about 1,500 members of the Wyoming Nation Guard and right now about 400 of them are serving overseas.
“They’re from towns like Casper, Cheyenne, Guernsey, Laramie, Sheridan, Lovell, Moorcroft, Wheatland. Brothers from Sheridan, brothers from Casper, I met with all of them.
“Some 370 Wyoming guard members currently serving in Afghanistan, in the Middle East, in Europe.
“It is our largest deployment in a decade.
“And I was honored to spend time with these dedicated service members from my home state.
“First, I visited the 115th Field Artillery Brigade Forward. It’s in the United Arab Emirates. It’s up in the desert across from the Strait of Hormuz. From there I traveled to Kuwait to meet with our 2nd Battalion the 300th the Field Army Artillery. My father-in-law, Bob Brown, was a member of this group during Korea. He had also served in World War II. I finished visiting the troops in Kosovo. The C Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, in Kosovo up near the Serbian border.
“In service to our country, these soldiers now find themselves far from home. And we owe it to them to give them the raise that they have earned and they deserve.
“Before I left, I gave every one of our soldiers a ‘challenge coin.’ It’s from me as a senator, but something I learned about through the military. It’s something you give to somebody for camaraderie, a job well done.
“The coin shows the Wyoming cowboy, or iconic cowboy sitting on a bucking bronco. And I give it to each one of them saying you’re from Wyoming, you’re a cowboy, and cowboys never quit, and cowboys never complain. And neither will the United States military.
“So when it comes to a raise, they’re not quitting, they’re not complaining.
“It seems to me, it’s the Democrats who have quit. They’ve gone back on their word to approve the pay raise that they approved a couple of months ago and are now blocking us moving forward with this piece of legislation.
“The troops I met, they embody the cowboy spirit. They love to see you. They don’t need to see you for long because they have things to do. They’re working seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year.
“They want to talk about what’s happening at home. They wanted to talk about Wyoming football; they wanted to talk about the hunting season. They wanted to talk about the weather at home where we’ve already had snow.
“The day I was in one of the locations, it was 108 degrees and the heat index was higher than that. And they’re, of course, in full uniform.
“They are there doing the job of keeping us safe and keeping us free. And they deserve the pay raise that they have earned.
“They’re on the frontlines. They’re defending our freedoms. They’re doing it every day.
“Over meals, and I had a meal with each of them, we talk about the challenges that they’re facing overseas.
“I toured each of their bases. They know that the world is a very dangerous place in which they are living and which they are serving. And they know what is happening with the threats to Iran, which to this group is only a little over a 100 miles away, across the Strait of Hormuz.
“Clearly, the best way to protect Americans at home is to keep up the pressure on our enemies abroad. Our presence there is restraining evil in the region.
“That’s why our troops need our full support and they need it right now, and shouldn’t be placed at a point where they have to tolerate and wait for the Democrats to come back to the table and come back to an agreement that they reached and made promises on earlier this year.
“With growing threats from abroad, the defense funding bill delivers critical resources that our military needs to keep us safe.
“One thing is crystal clear from my visit: the best way to honor our troops is to honor our commitments to them.
“So let’s give these men and women in uniform the raise that they have earned, that they deserve, that they are entitled to.
“Let us give our troops the state-of-the-art tools that they need to protect the American people in a dangerous world.
“It’s time for Democrats to lift their hold on this blockade that they’ve had on our defense funding bill.
“Then we must work together in a bipartisan way to complete the regular defense appropriations process and fully fund our military as our nation demands and our troops certainly deserve.”