Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the Senate floor on Wednesday, gloating about how Republicans managed to keep marijuana banking reform out of a large-scale defense bill that was released on Tuesday night. And he said the “lesson must carry over” to forthcoming omnibus appropriations legislation that some lawmakers are now looking at as an alternative way to enact the cannabis reform.
Separately, a Democratic House member said on Wednesday that the fact that cannabis banking wasn’t included in NDAA meant that “at least” one Democratic senator “had a problem” with the reform as well.
Advocates and pro-reform lawmakers have expressed serious disappointment about the setback, as there were strong hopes that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would serve as the legislative vehicle to finally enact the SAFE Banking Act, which has passed in the House seven times.
McConnell previewed his interest in blocking the effort earlier this week, describing the cannabis provision as one of the “pet priorities” of Democrats that should be kept out of the defense legislation.
His efforts evidently proved fruitful, and he took a victory lap on the Senate floor on Wednesday, while also signaling that he will seek to similarly derail any future attempts to add what he considers non-germane items to omnibus appropriations legislation.
“Just as Republicans insisted, just as our service members deserve, this NDAA is not getting dragged down by unrelated liberal nonsense,” McConnell said. “Good smart policies were kept in and unrelated nonsense like easier financing for illegal drugs was kept out.”