House panel backs $24B Pentagon budget boost, defying Biden

Fourteen Democrats broke from the ranks to bring the GOP budget proposal across the finish line.

Several Democrats who have served in the military or represent military-heavy districts backed the change, including former Navy officer Elaine Luria (D-Va.), Former Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill (DN.J.) and Army veteran Anthony Brown (D-Md.). Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Who represents a Connecticut district that builds submarines, also backed the raise.

The bipartisan vote is another blow to Biden’s $ 715 billion spending plan, which is keeping military spending essentially unchanged. Republicans have been attacking the Biden budget for months for failing to keep up with the rate of inflation and for not funding the military enough to counter threats from China and Russia.

The House and Senate grants bodies have yet to sign off any increase in order for the Pentagon to actually receive more money. But the bipartisan dynamic is now building on both sides of the Capitol towards a huge budget hike.

“The bipartisan acceptance of my amendment sends a clear signal: the president’s draft budget was completely inadequate to keep up with an emerging China and an emerging Russia,” Rogers said in a statement. “I hope this bipartisan and now bicameral move will be understood by the Biden Harris administration.”

The House of Representatives action on Wednesday follows a bipartisan vote by the Senate Armed Services Committee to top up its version of the Defense Act by $ 25 billion. Only one Democrat on the committee, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Opposed the proposal.

Armed Forces Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) Had signaled that the committee could support a larger Pentagon budget, but rejected the amendment to increase spending beyond his version of the bill, which was $ 716 billion. Dollar fraud. He criticized the proposal as “just throwing more money into the problem”.

“The president’s budget was just the right number to get the right results,” argued Smith.

The increase was made by progressive lawmakers and groups who claim the Pentagon is already adequately funded. Following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, defense critics have advocated steep cuts at the Pentagon and redirecting money into initiatives such as combating climate change and global vaccination efforts.

California progressive MP Ro Khanna urged Democrats not to “succumb” to a GOP-led budget maneuver, arguing the party would be wasting its political capital by approving the increase.

“If we don’t stand up now to make sure we don’t increase the defense budget … what’s the use of controlling both chambers and the presidency?” asked Khanna.

Rogers’ amendment would spend billions to meet unfunded military service and combatant needs and would accommodate approximately 200 legislative requests that were not in the original bill.

The change would add $ 9.8 billion to arms procurement accounts.

This includes $ 4.7 billion for shipbuilding, including money to purchase an additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, amphibious assault ship, fleet oiler and expedition express transporter. The change would also authorize funds to expand the Navy’s assault submarine procurement to three boats per year.

The move also includes funding for three cruisers that the Navy wanted to retire.

The change also provides for an additional $ 1.7 billion in aircraft purchases, including four more KC-130J air tankers for the Navy and Marines, two more P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for the Navy, and nine more UH-60s Black Hawk helicopters for the Army National Guard.

Rogers’ amendment also approves an additional $ 5.2 billion for research and development programs. It would increase operations and maintenance accounts by $ 3 billion and approve an additional $ 3.8 billion for defense infrastructure projects.

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