The fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act has yet to be scheduled for a vote in the upper chamber of Congress.
The annual spending package is a crucial bill for Alabama’s contributions to national security, as the state boasts five military bases and a robust defense industry.
Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) joined 22 of his GOP colleagues in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) calling for the chamber to hold a vote on the bill.
Tuberville, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, slammed Schumer Wednesday for his failure to bring the must-pass bill to a vote.
“I travel throughout our state, which we have military bases, we have defense contractors, we make weapons,” Tuberville told Yellowhammer News. “And here’s the problem: A football coach — you’re getting ready to play a game — you want time to plan that game. You want time to organize, put things together to where you can get off to a good start and take care of your business.”
Schumer delaying a vote on the spending package jeopardizes the Department of Defense’s ability to conduct business in a timely manner, according to the senator.
“The generals and admirals are all telling me, and Defense Secretary Austin, that we have to pass the NDAA,” said Tuberville. “We’ve got to get it done to where we can get on with business to giving out contracts, putting things in order to find out what we need, who does the best at making certain things.
“You can’t just throw it out there and expect it to happen overnight.”
Calling Schumer’s actions “a disservice” to the nation, Alabama’s junior senator said the Democratic leader delaying a vote on the bill placed the American people “in harm’s way.”
“Leader Schumer is doing a disservice to our country. He’s putting us all in harm’s way,” said Tuberville, before going on to list foreign adversaries that pose a threat to the homeland. “We’re on a verge of a war with China if they were to go into Taiwan. We’re on a verge of anything that’s happening going on in Ukraine with Russia. We have got to understand that we live in a dangerous world.”
Schumer’s NDAA strategy, according to Tuberville, is being carried out for political purposes.
“But unfortunately, Chuck Schumer runs by a different mentality. He uses it for political gain and for political weapons,” he said. “And that’s not what this is about. The American people want a strong defense that’s going to protect and deter anything that’s going to happen to our country.”
Tuberville said he expected Schumer to discard Republicans’ concerns over the bill’s delay and the Senate majority leader was holding the American people “hostage.”
“He’ll get [the letter]. He’ll look at it and throw it in the trash. But you’ve got to remember, it was signed by almost 30 other senators,” Tuberville said. “And there’s a lot of people on the Democratic side that want it on the floor and signed, too. So we don’t know what the problem is, other than he likes power, he likes to hold people hostage. And he’s doing that as we speak with our military and with people across this country.”
“He’s holding everybody hostage for our national security.”