Republicans on Friday blasted President Biden’s request for $753 billion for next fiscal year’s defense budget, saying it’s not enough to counter China’s military modernization plans.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., along with other top Senate Republicans, accused the president of prioritizing a “liberal wish list” while “funding for America’s military is neglected.”
CHINA BOOSTS MILITARY SPENDING AS GOP DEMANDS BIDEN DO THE SAME
While Biden’s budget is a slight increase from the $704 billion allotted for defense spending in fiscal year 2021, it actually equates to a decrease in spending by about half a percent after inflation, first reported Bloomberg.
Republicans have called the budget “disappointing” and alleged it will not hold up next to China’s continual expanse in defense spending.
“China aspires to overtake America as the world’s dominant superpower. Over the past decade, China’s defense spending has increased by $200 billion, while America’s has decreased by $400 billion,” the GOP group, including Senators Marco Rubio, Jim Inhofe, Lindsey Graham and Richard Shelby, said in a statement. “China’s military investments match its desire to out-compete America and hold our military forces at risk.”
Earlier this year, China announced a 7% percent increase to its military spending budget for fiscal year 2022 – a figure that amounts to $208.6 billion.
But U.S. lawmakers are concerned about Beijing’s plan to modernize its military, highlighted in a Defense Department report released in September 2020.
House Republicans urged Biden to increase the military budget by three to five percent last month — more than double the 1.7% increase that the president allotted to the 2022 annual defense budget.
“President Biden’s budget proposal cuts defense spending, sending a terrible signal not only to our adversaries in Beijing and Moscow but also to our allies and partners,” the GOP senators wrote.
But while congressional Republicans are frustrated by the lack of increased spending, some Democrats were equally irked at what they view as a “bloated” defense budget.
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Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders, said he had “serious concerns” about the defense budget.
“At a time when the U.S. already spends more on the military than the next 12 nations combined, it is time for us to take a serious look at the massive cost over-runs, the waste and fraud that currently exists at the Pentagon,” Sanders said Friday.