More than a dozen House Democrats on the Armed Services Committee joined with Republicans Wednesday to increase the military’s budget by over $20 billion from President Joe Biden’s initial request of $753 billion.
The new amendment — passed 42-17 — raises the total spending allotted for Fiscal Year 2022 fiscal year to just under $800 billion, similar to what was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“The bipartisan adoption of my amendment sends a clear signal: The president’s budget submission was wholly inadequate to keep pace with a rising China and a reemerging Russia,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), ranking member, said. “I hope this bipartisan, and now bicameral, move is understood by the Biden-Harris administration. The defense of our nation will not be shortchanged by Congress.”
Even America’s chaotic military withdrawal from Afghanistan emboldening the Taliban wasn’t enough for progressive Democrats, who demanded the budget not go higher.
The debate likely exposed the hard left lacking sway on defense issues, considering 14 of the committee’s Democrats supported the amendment, which is detailed here.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Silicon Valley), a former national co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ failed presidential campaign, criticized the proposal.
“My question is simple: If we are getting out of Afghanistan and we have money, why are we spending this $23.9 billion on increasing defense as opposed to, for example, giving the money to all our veterans who served in Afghanistan for 20 years?” the Californian asked. “Or, my Republican colleagues who’ve spoken eloquently about our obligation to our Afghan allies and to Afghan refugees, why not spend the money on resettling them, or helping with their evacuation? If we don’t stand up now to make sure that we are not increasing the defense budget, what good is it to control both chambers and the presidency?”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Berkeley), the only member of Congress to oppose ousting the Taliban after 9/11, and anti-Israel Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) — co-chairs of the so-called “Defense Spending Reduction Caucus” — attempted to dissuade their colleagues from supporting the troops by claiming the Afghanistan surrender is a chance to cut defense spending.
“America spends more on its military than the next 11 largest defense-spending nations combined,” the radicals wrote in a letter.
The “we spend more than the next 11 nations combined” is a deceitful canard often employed by progressives and some libertarians.
“Even if that claim were true, and it’s not, they ignore that the next 11 nations lack our technological superiority that saves combat soldiers’ lives, other countries do not pay their soldiers as well, or are much smaller than we are,” a military historian told PJ Media Thursday. “We could erase the entire military budget and still have deficit spending, since domestic social spending easily is the biggest driver of our national debt.”