Inflation and the Ukraine conflict will likely have lawmakers increase the President’s Defense money request’s….
Rising costs, along with balancing the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the long-term challenge posed by China, are fueling the fight to increase the defense topline as congressional committees begin their deliberations on Pentagon programs next week.
Top Republicans, who contend inflation will devour Biden’s proposed 4 percent defense hike, envision an even larger cash infusion when annual defense policy and spending bills come up for debate in the coming weeks.
“I just think we have everything on our side on this thing,” Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Senate Armed Services Republican, said in a brief interview. “We ought to be able to get the adequate increases that we want.”
Democrats will be forced to either back Biden’s blueprint or — as they did last year — ladle on billions more in military spending.
“There’s always upward pressure on the topline on the budget. We’ll have to deal with that,” Senate Armed Services Chair Jack Reed (D-R.I.) told POLITICO. “We’re trying, I think, collectively — House, Senate, leadership … and the White House — to come up with a topline.”
Biden is proposing a $30 billion increase in national defense spending in his fiscal 2023 budget from the current level. Congress already allocated roughly $29 billion more than the commander in chief sought for defense in fiscal 2022, with Democrats and Republicans joining forces to rebuke Biden’s first Pentagon plan.
The $813 billion national defense proposal includes $773 billion for the Pentagon, as well as tens of billions for nuclear weapons programs overseen by the Energy Department.
Progressive Democrats who’ve pushed to constrain military spending will almost certainly put up a fight, and may even push for a level lower than Biden’s proposal. But the party’s left flank has to date been steamrolled by bipartisan majorities that back more money for defense….