Floor Action

McConnell denies request to delay defense bill to after debates: 'Come on'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday dismissed a call by Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to delay passage of a mammoth defense bill until after the Democratic presidential debates so the entire chamber can vote on an Iran amendment. 

 

McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor, brushed off the request from Schumer, saying Democrats missing the votes in order to take part in the Democratic presidential debates were prioritizing trying to win "the favor of the resistance." 

 

"I was incredulous to hear the Democratic leader call yesterday to postpone moving forward with the NDAA," McConnell said, referring to the National Defense Authorization Act. "Apparently some of our Democratic friends need to go hit the presidential campaign trail. They can't be here because they have to go campaign." 

 

Schumer called on Monday for the Senate to delay passage of the NDAA until after this week's debates so every senator could be present to vote on the amendment, which would block President Trump from using the funding to carry out military action against Iran without congressional approval. 

"Considering the gravity of the situation with Iran, Democrats believe the full Senate should be present to vote on the Udall amendment. Leader McConnell is no doubt aware that several members of this body will be absent this week for the Democratic presidential debates," Schumer said from the Senate floor on Monday.

It's unclear if the amendment will get a vote after McConnell moved to wrap up debate on the defense bill on Monday night without setting up any additional amendment votes. Democrats could try to block the defense bill from advancing as they search for leverage to try to force a vote on the Iran amendment.

McConnell said on Tuesday that he opposes the amendment, though he gave no indication about if it will get a vote. He knocked Democrats, saying they are suffering from "Trump derangement."

"Postpone legislation on national defense to accommodate the presidential race? In the middle of this ongoing crisis overseas? Come on. Come on. I'm sorry our Democratic friends feel compelled to skip out so they can compete for the favor of the resistance," McConnell added.

Seven Democratic senators will be taking place in the first Democratic primary debates, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. 

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