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Joe Biden proposes military spending increase to prepare for potential conflict with China and Russia

 March 11, 2023

President Joe Biden is requesting $842 billion for the Pentagon in a jump over the $773 billion he asked for in 2022.

The budget includes a 5.2% pay increase for military personnel as well as massive increases in defense spending in the Pacific and Ukraine.

Biden's remarks

In a message to Congress, Biden said this year’s budget proposal “cements our commitment to confronting global challenges and keeping America safe.”

“It outlines crucial investments to out-compete China globally and to continue support for Ukraine in the face of unprovoked Russian aggression,” the president said.

Some Democrats push back

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement late Thursday that the president’s Pentagon blueprint requests “$26 billion more than Congress allocated in the previous budget — which itself was $63 billion more than the $773 billion the President requested for FY2023.”

“This is a never-ending cycle of increased funds without accountability,” said Jayapal. “There is simply no reason for taxpayers to continue to pay for outrageously high budgets rife with waste, fraud, and abuse. A recent CBO study confirmed that the Pentagon could cut $100 billion per year without compromising on national defense."

"This is long overdue. Progressives in Congress have been at the frontline of this fight for decades, and we will continue to push for sensible, targeted defense policy that prioritizes our national security over profit-hungry military contractors," she added.

The bigger budget problem

The increased military budget is just 3.2% higher than the previous budget but serves as part of a controversial overall national battle over spending.

"The release of the White House budget draft kicks off the public debate over spending for the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, and negotiating a full-year budget plan is expected to take months. Already, House Republican leaders have simultaneously promised to trim federal spending while boosting funding for national security needs, including the military," Defense News reported.

"House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for his part, has vowed to cut at least $130 billion in non-discretionary spending, raising questions as to how the Republican-controlled House can accommodate a defense budget increase," it noted.

Top Republicans sounded off against the Biden military proposal after its release.

“A budget that proposes to increase non-defense spending at more than twice the rate of defense is absurd,” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (AL-03).

“The United States is facing the most complex and challenging set of threats to our national security in decades. Unfortunately, the President has once again submitted a budget request that fails to take these threats seriously," he continued.

The military budget is critical for the nation but Biden's new proposal has leaders on both sides upset over the numbers and focus.