U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,voted to advance the Defense Appropriations bill in the Senate. Democrats blocked the legislation 50 to 44 on a cloture vote, which requires a 60-vote threshold to move to debate and to amend the legislation.

“I voted to begin debate and to amend the Defense Appropriations bill, but once again Democrats are playing politics with military funding and blocked progress on this vital piece of legislation that would provide timely support for our military,” Inhofe said. “As passed out of the appropriations committee, this legislation provides funding to improve combat readiness, to support wartime efforts such as the president’s sustained military presence in Afghanistan, and to support the training of our service members and maintenance of their equipment. This year, the legislation also includes an additional $150 million necessary for facility sustainment, restoration and moderation to assist all our military installations, to include Oklahoma’s five major installations. I strongly support language in the legislation regarding our detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which would prevent funding for detention facilities in the United States to house Guantanamo detainees, for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States, and for the transfer of detainees to foreign counties except in accordance with certification and notification requirements in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017.

“This appropriations bill exemplifies why the Senate needs to return to regular order. Despite its many important funding provisions supporting our military, the Senate needs to be debating how this legislation also continues to decrease the size of our military when  every service chief and secretary has warned Congress that our military is too small given the global threats we face today and expect to face for the foreseeable future.  This bill also fails to increase OCO funding, which would have addressed additional military readiness shortfalls not funded in the base budget and would have supported the president’s request to maintain 8,400 troops in Afghanistan. All of this would have the chance to be addressed in an open amendment process, a process that has returned as a result of Republican-led Senate. I urge Senate Democrats to stop stifling debate on the Defense Appropriations bill and allow for it to be consider through a transparent and open process in the Senate.”

The Senate Defense Appropriations bill, S.3000, would fund the Defense Department base budget at $515.9 billion and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) at $58.6 billion.