U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (R) Montana was on the floor of the House on Wednesday to lobby for passage of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Zinke said there were attempts to place riders on the act for various causes, however, he was hopeful that the military would receive adequate funding to complete its mission.

"At the end of the day, we want to make sure that our sons and daughters that are in harm's way have the right training and the right equipment and the right rules of engagement to win decisively on the field of battle, and the NDAA funds just that," Zinke said. "When our military loses funding, there are vacuums, and those vacuums are filled by competitors such as China, or aggressors in the case of Russia or enemies in the case of Iran.I think it's important to have the right force structure and equipment to win."

Zinke, a former Navy Seal commander, compared and contrasted the two halves of the federal budget, discretionary and mandatory.

"The discretionary includes the military and all the federal agencies like the department of the Interior and the BLM, and of course, the military is by far the biggest dog in the room," he said. "Then, there's the mandatory spending side, with entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and that is now consuming overall a greater percentage of the budget, and that is what is growing and causing havoc in our debt."

Zinke said he is looking forward to upcoming debates with his Democratic opponent in the election, Denise Juneau, the current Superintendent of Public Instruction.

"They'll obviously have to be scheduled around the Congressional schedule," he said. "We'll probably do one with a newspaper board, probably one in Whitefish or somewhere else in the Flathead, and we'll do one around Billings, or out to the Crow Nation or one of the other reservations. I think the contrast between the candidates is pretty clear."

Zinke said he would enjoy a debate with Juneau on KGVO's Talk Back program, if one could be arranged.

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