Mitch McConnell

At the end of October, President Donald Trump announced U.S. special operations forces eliminated Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the world’s most wanted terrorist and the vile leader of ISIS. Whatever your politics, every American should express sincere gratitude to the intelligence professionals and servicemembers who carried out this brave defense of the American way of life.

Kentuckians should be especially proud that one of our very own, Cadiz native and Lt. Gen. Scott Howell, leads the forces who executed the successful mission. After years of brutal terror and violence across the region, the world is now a safer place because al-Baghdadi has been brought to justice. Our nation’s special operations forces, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and President Trump all deserve our thanks for their decisive action.

The courageous raid against the ISIS leader underscored once again the critical importance of a robust American military and its strategic presence abroad. As the world’s premier fighting force, our all-volunteer armed services defend the United States, our partners and allies from threats across the globe.

Unfortunately, the very same week Americans celebrated this heroic mission, Senate Democrats failed to do their part. They voted to filibuster national defense funding and put their partisan rancor for President Trump ahead of our duty to provide for our armed forces.

The world remains a dangerous place in need of American leadership. Just because Washington Democrats are pursuing their years-long goal of impeaching our commander-in-chief does not mean they should also turn their backs on those who dedicate their lives to keep us safe.

Radical terrorist organizations like ISIS won’t quietly wait for the Democrats to stop their partisan bickering and decide to fund our military. And our servicemembers can’t sit on the sidelines as our colleagues prioritize impeachment over America’s military advantage.

Even more perplexing is that by obstructing funding for the Defense Department, Senate Democrats are also blocking hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance to our allies, ironically including Ukraine. 

They’re literally blocking funding for the exact same Ukraine military assistance program over which they are threatening to impeach President Trump.

In Washington, sometimes the truth is more absurd than fiction.

Providing the necessary resources for our national defense is one of Congress’ most fundamental responsibilities. When I recently hosted Secretary Esper in Louisville, he discussed the detrimental effect stop-gap funding measures continue to have on our servicemembers and our military readiness. Our commanders need long-term certainty so they can make new investments and continue to provide high-quality support for our military families.

As Senate majority leader, I’m committed to ensuring our military has the tools to plan for the future and confront any threat it may face. My Republican colleagues and I are also focused on providing our men and women in uniform the support they need, including a well-deserved pay raise.

In addition, I take seriously my responsibility to promote Kentucky’s indispensable role in our military readiness. Operations performed by our brave men and women stationed at Fort Campbell, Fort Knox and the Blue Grass Army Depot are critical features of our national security, and I consistently fight to ensure they, along with Kentucky’s National Guard, have the resources to successfully accomplish their missions.

Denying funding for our national defense isn’t the only unfortunate consequence of the Democrats’ partisan frenzy against President Trump. Their single-minded focus on impeaching the democratically elected president could also prevent other accomplishments for American families. Several important priorities — from securing our border to passing the most consequential trade deal of a generation — have been put on hold by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the far-left Democrats who refuse to work with President Trump at all costs.

This partisan impasse must end. Congress cannot sit paralyzed for the next year while the Democrats continue their attempts to nullify the results of the 2016 presidential election. There is too much of the people’s business to be done. At the very least, I hope the Senate Democrats will put aside partisanship and join us to support the men and women who have dedicated their lives to sacrifice and service.

Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is the U.S. Senate majority leader. He can be reached through Stephanie Penn at Stephanie_Penn@mcconnell.senate.gov.

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