WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the National Defense Authorization Act is at risk of failing to pass for the first time in nearly 50 years.
From the Senate floor, McConnell, R-Kentucky, accused his Democratic colleagues of stonewalling the bill while instead focusing on impeachment.
“There is no legislation, no matter how crucial, that Democrats will not obstruct in order to pick fights with this president,” McConnell said.
“It’s just political theater taking precedence over our armed forces,” he added.
Congress has successfully passed a defense bill every year since 1961.
“Saying we’re holding up the defense bill – that’s a time-honored Republican tradition to deflect blame,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, responded.
Schumer points the blame at McConnell’s opposition to include an election security measure within the NDAA.
“The annual defense bill might be our last chance to pass significant reforms to secure our elections, so Leader McConnell – are you for securing our elections against Russia or not?” he asked.
“As part of a bill to protect our national defense, we should be protecting the integrity of our elections,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland.
Van Hollen introduced the Deter Act to help secure our elections from future interference. Schumer wants it included.
‘Those who will interfere in our elections to try and change our election results will face punishments, will face sanctions,” Van Hollen explained.
But the Republican leader maintains his party is tough on Russia.
“We’ll probably keep hearing the dishonest myth that Republicans are soft on Russia,” McConnell said.
With roughly two weeks left on the legislative calendar, the clock is ticking for both sides to reach an agreement.