REED: Mr. President, first, let me commend Senator Wicker, the ranking member, for his extraordinary cooperation, thoughtfulness, and insight throughout this entire process. As a result, this evening, we passed in an overwhelming vote a bipartisan piece of legislation that confronts the challenges we face today in a very, very difficult world.

The first thing we did was we took care of the troops. We have a 5.2- percent increase in pay--one of the largest in decades. We also took care of the troops by investing in the best possible platforms in technology in many dimensions--underwater submarines, in the air. We are recapitalizing our triad for nuclear deterrence. We are looking closely at space, what we can do there both to defend ourselves and prevent space from undermining our national security. All of these things were done on a collaborative basis. Hundreds of amendments were considered in both the committee and here on the floor. As a result, we have legislation that I think we are all very, very proud of.

I would also like to thank and commend Leader Schumer and Leader McConnell because they allowed us to conduct a very open process on the floor, to entertain amendments, to work closely so that we could have the conclusion we did this evening--- a strong, strong bipartisan vote.

I am confident that what we have done will provide the Department of Defense and our military men and women with the resources they need to meet and overcome the challenges of a dangerous world.

Like my colleague, I recognize that the work of others made our work much easier. Indeed, the work of our staffs made this bill possible. So let me thank first my staff director, Elizabeth King, and I also thank John Keast, the staff director to Senator Wicker, who has done an extraordinary job. Together, they are a formidable team and also consummate professionals.

As my colleague has done, let me recognize the staff members on my side of the aisle: Jody Bennett, who made a very strong contribution to this effort, Carolyn Chuhta, Jon Clark, Jenny Davis, Jonathan Epstein, Jorie Feldman, Kevin Gates, Creighton Greene, Gary Leeling, Kirk McConnell, Maggie McNamara Cooper, Bill Monahan, Mike Noblet, John Quirk, Andy Scott, Cole Stevens, Isabelle Picciotti, Alison Warner, Leah Brewer, Megan Lustig, Joe Gallo, Brittany Amador, Griffin Cannon, Sofia Kamali, Chad Johnson, Jessica Lewis, Vannary Kong, Noah Sisk, Zachary Volpe, and once again my staff director, Elizabeth King, who deserves great credit for this.

Let me also thank the floor staff and the leadership staff who have been part of this process and who have been able to keep our floor open so we could conclude this bill.
This is an important, important step. Now I look forward to joining my colleague Senator Wicker and our colleagues in the committee to go to conference to work out a bill that we can support as vigorously on a bipartisan basis as we have this Senate legislation. With that, I yield the floor.