As President Joe Biden’s arguably less-than-flat defense budget (after inflation) weaves its way through the Democrat controlled House, it continues to raise concerns from Republicans and defense experts. In a 33-23 party-line vote the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved a $706 billion defense spending bill for fiscal 2022 over the objections of all the panel’s Republicans.
Republicans argued that the budget’s $10 billion, or 1.4 percent, increase was not enough to counter global threats, particularly from China. Defense News reported progressive left wing Democrat arguments:
Though progressive Democrats voted to advance the bill, they said they were only doing so to allow for a debate and amendments on the House floor. They continued to decry what they saw as too much spending with too little oversight.
“We just spend too much on what is defined as traditional defense, and many of us in the country and many of us in Congress would like to redefine defense,” said Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis. “What’s actually in the defense of this country? It’s not in defense contractors, but it’s things like pandemics and climate change and other items that actually defend us.”
However, Republicans came out strongly against the Biden administration’s flat defense topline. “Now is the time to prioritize our national security funding, not shortchange it,” said the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Kay Granger of Texas.
Ahead of the markups, the top Republican on the House Defense Appropriations panel, Rep. Ken Calvert, slammed the bill for not raising the Pentagon budget by 3 to 5 percent above inflation.
“Due to the arbitrary top line funding level, this bill takes from today in the hope that our investments will outpace our adversaries in the 2030-time frame,” he said. “That’s fine if our adversaries agree not to go to war until 2030 — which they have not. Nor are they pausing on development as they aggressively invest in more lethal capabilities.” ADN