Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Sen. Jim Inhofe on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 – Dec. 9, 2013

Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on the status of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The press conference was held on Dec. 9, 2013:

…I agree with both speakers that this isn’t the way we’d like to do it. We got to the point a week ago today when this is the only we could do it.

I think a couple of things from the press perspective that are very important to consider would be – first of all, we actually considered 87 amendments that have been brought up and we passed 79 of them. You know, that’s kind of hard to do. It would have been hard to do on the floor. But nonetheless, we have something in this bill that is really significant.

And we have to consider – and you have to consider as members of the media – that the choices are not you want an NDAA bill that we’re doing here or have one the normal way that takes place because that’s not possible any longer.

…On the Senate floor a few minutes ago, in December – we’re going into – the House is going to go out at 11 a.m. on Friday, so we – there is not the time to go through a process where you’re going to have amendments and these considerations. That’s behind us.

But what hasn’t been said is – people are saying, “Well, can’t you run into January?” First of all, it has never gone into January in the last 52 years. The only two times it has gone in, as Buck said, is when the President vetoed it and we had to go back in and get it done. And that was done not in months of weeks afterwards; it was in hours afterwards – we overrode the veto. So this has to be done. It always historically have been done in December or long before now.

Keep in mind, we passed our bill months ago, and we should have brought this up. And I criticized the leadership of the Senate for not allowing us to bring it up.

If you look and see what is happening in January, that’s very significant too. We come back in the 6th. Generally, it takes the average time over the last 10 years to consider one of these bills is…10 days and in that time, we have the CR on the 15th. I can tell you right now, and I don’t have to tell you this, we’re going to be spending all of our time on the CR. After that, we have the debt limit. So it’s just not going to be done unless it’s done this way. I think it’s critical that people have to understand that.

Secondly, a lot of people have said, “Well, we have historically been able to go into January.” That’s not true and I have another chart here that shows that we haven’t gone into January.

I will only say this. There are two categories of problems we have here. One, things are going to expire on Dec. 31st of this year. And secondly, what is going to expire is that as the time matures.

As to what’s going to come up, right now we’re talking about pay, hazard pay.

Those of us also have been in the military, we know that there’s quite an involved process in making a career decision as to whether or not you’re going to re-enlist. Well, re-enlistment bonuses would stop on Dec. 31st. It wouldn’t be there any longer.

Impact aid – now, you folks are not as exposed as we are when you go into areas where they’ve taken away taxes from our school system. Impact aid is absolutely necessary. That will stop on Dec. 31st.

Now, the things that won’t stop right then but will be a major concern – I’ll just mention two and we’ll respond to questions – any major projects that are currently under construction will have to stop work.

Now, I use an example on the floor that the bill contains $136 million to continue construction of the replacement of the command center – US STRATCOM – that’s in Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. If this is not authorized, then the work will have to stop. They’d have to stop halfway through.

On the other hand, you take this CVN-78, that’s something we have already spent $12 billion on. If we’re not able to pass this bill, it’s going to have to stop and you’re talking about 4,300 ship builders who’ll be out of work and all of that. But the point is, we’d be wasting, not millions, but billions of dollars if we don’t do this.

So we have a good bill here. It contains a lot of provisions as both the previous speakers have articulated. And this is a bill – the only way we’re going to have a bill is to go ahead and do it this way…We’ve spent a lot of time going over all of this. We have a good product and we’re going to try to do our best to get it passed.


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