Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D., Nev.) refusal to permit a key defense bill from coming to a vote is endangering U.S. troops around the world and allowing terror groups to gain strength, according to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), who is spearheading a new campaign to expose Reid’s dangerous behavior.
The entire U.S. defense apparatus, as well as the U.S. military, depends on a key yearly spending bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a piece of legislation that outlines and funds the nation’s national security priorities.
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The 2015 NDAA already passed the House, but has stalled in the Senate, where Reid has near absolute control over which bills receive a vote.
Inhofe, in a new video first provided to the Washington Free Beacon, outlines the danger posed by Reid’s obstruction and urges Americans to call the majority leader’s office and demand that the bill be voted on before Congress leaves town in August. If the current NDAA does not come to a vote before the end of the fiscal year, there will be a funding gap for national security priorities.
Inhofe's campaign is a sign of mounting frustration with Reid, who has alienated GOP senators and others by refusing to allow important pieces of legislation to receive an up or down vote.
The NDAA also is Congress’ main mechanism to provide oversight over the Obama administration’s foreign policy, which in many cases has been run around Congress via unilateral executive orders.
"We’ve got a serious problem," Inhofe warns in the video, which explains how a failure to pass the NDAA will negatively impact U.S. troops and national security interests across the globe.
The NDAA, among other things, provides funding to joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense projects, such as the Iron Dome, which has helped protect Israeli citizens from Hamas rockets bombarding the Jewish state.
Funding to reinforce and bolster these programs will not reach Israel in a timely fashion if Reid continues to prevent the NDAA from coming to a vote.
The NDAA additionally contains measures to stop Russian spy flights, boost the U.S. military presence to combat Iran, provide Congress with oversight authority over the Iran nuclear deal, and force the Treasury Department to sever financial ties with companies that support the Iranian regime, among many other things.
All of these security priorities are in jeopardy because of Reid, Inhofe said.
"We rely on our men and women in uniform to keep us safe," the video states. "They should be able to rely on Congress."
Inhofe told the Free Beacon that Reid’s refusal to bring the bill to a vote is interfering with Congress’ ability to conduct oversight.
"The NDAA ensures vital oversight of the president’s policies and ensures that our men and women in uniform are provided the equipment and training they need to defend the United States and return home safely to their loved ones," said Inhofe, the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), which drafted the NDAA.
"At a time when our men and women in uniform are being challenged by unparalleled threats around the world, they need our support more than ever. The NDAA must come to the floor now, before the August recess, so that we can debate these important issues and move quickly to conference," Inhofe said. "We need to demonstrate to our military that their well-being is our priority and show the American people that the president’s national security policies will not go unchecked."
Inhofe explains in the video that America’s credibility and security is on the line.
"In Iraq, al Qaeda-inspired terrorists have returned, contrary to the claims of some that al Qaeda is on the run," he says. "It’s clear they’re operating in more countries and control more territory then ever before."
"Iraq and Syria have become the largest terrorist safe haven in the world, serving as a breeding ground for the next generation of jihadists," Inhofe states. "We’re empowering Russia and Iran to lead and become key influencers in the region. If anyone out there is naïve enough to think we can depend on Iran to help our situation there is sadly mistaken."
Inhofe warned that the chaos caused by last year’s late passage of the bill would only repeat itself this time around.
"If there is anything that we should learn from this, it’s we don’t let happen this year what happened last yar" when Reid also held up the NDAA bill, he said. "Let the people know, and the kids know who are over there risking their lives, that we support that and will be putting together an NDAA bill."
Reid has not communicated with top Republican senators why he is refusing to permit a vote on the NDAA.
Senior Senate insiders familiar with the debate say he could be protecting Democrats who are up for reelection from having to take tough votes on measures pertaining to Iran and other issues.
Now is not the time to play politics with America’s security, Inhofe said.
"There needs to be an open and honest debate about the rising threats to our national security and the future of our military," he said. "We’ve entered a period of unprecedented instability where violent terrorist groups operate in more countries and control more territory than ever before and countries like China, Russia, and Iran increasingly dictate global events."