WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) unveiled his version of the COVID-19 supplemental legislation, which includes billions in additional funding for the Department of Defense.
“At the onset of the health crisis, President Trump denied the very existence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the Trump Administration has failed to consistently acknowledge, much less confront, the pandemic. President Trump’s response has been a complete disaster.
“Now, more than two months after the House passed the Heroes Act to help Americans cope with the pandemic, Senate Republicans have rolled out their rebuttal, which directs billions of taxpayer dollars to the Department of Defense while doing very little to address the economic and health crises our country faces.
“While it is true that COVID-19 poses a real and credible threat to our national security, you don’t have to be doctor or a four-star general to understand that spending billions on new helicopters, combat vehicles, and fighter jets is not the solution to this complex problem. It is also true that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on small manufacturers who play a crucial role in our industrial base. We need to implement smart policies that actually support these small manufacturers and maintain the stability of our supply chain – Leader McConnell’s procurement wish list is not the solution.
“It is also no secret that earlier this year the Trump Administration abused the reprogramming authority to divert funding from military equipment and modernization accounts to pay for the President’s vanity wall. Now, Republican Senators are trying to capitalize on the urgency of the moment to backfill these accounts while in the same breath arguing that unemployment benefits should be cut in the name of fiscal responsibility.
“It is clear that a divided Republican Conference produced a weak bill, and I have faith that Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer will work tirelessly to make significant improvements before this legislation is seriously considered by either chamber of Congress.”