The Biden administration is eyeing another increase to the Pentagon's budget to meet threats from Russia and China, although some Republican lawmakers are set on cutting spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, Politico reported.
"I do expect it will be a bigger number than Congress provided last year," Michael McCord, the Defense Department's chief financial officer, told Politico.
Congress in December appropriated $858 billion in national defense spending, $45 billion more than Biden initially sought and the most the U.S. had ever spent.
McCord said the Pentagon will invest in munitions to replenish U.S. stockpiles and support Ukraine in its war against Russia.
Top House Republicans this month said the Pentagon's budget would be on the table, including eliminating "wokeness" in the military.
"We're going to cut money that's being spent on wokeism, we're going to cut legacy programs, we're going to cut a lot of waste," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told The Hill.
Kevin McCarthy in his bid to become House speaker agreed to cap all new discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels, which would amount to a $75 billion cut in the defense budget.
Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., told the Hill that if Congress needs to make defense cuts, "Let's start with the woke ideology and finish with the bureaucracy."
"The recruiting and retention in the military is at an all-time low, and the DoD needs to quit focusing on the woke ideology and focus on the mission of supporting our warfighters," Scott said in a statement.
Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, in January opposed the rules package that passed on an almost exclusively party-line vote, in part because of his concerns about national security spending.
"This has a proposed billions of dollars cut to defense, which I think is a horrible idea when you have [an] aggressive Russia in Ukraine, you have a growing threat of China in the Pacific," Gonzales said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation." "How am I going to look at our allies in the eye and say, 'I need you to increase your defense budget,' but yet America is going to decrease ours?"
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., said: "Most of us won't vote for cuts to defense."
McCord said lawmakers will have to make difficult choices about which parts of the defense budget to cut.
"You are going to have to face the harder question of what is it that you want to do less? Do you want to have fewer people? Do you want to have fewer ships? Fewer airplanes? Smaller pay raises? That's where the money is in the defense budget," he said.
McCord also slammed Republicans for what he called a "complete reversal of the last two years" of calling for bigger defense budgets.
"It would appear to be largely the same people saying, 'Well, now it should be smaller,'" he said. "It is puzzling to me that the message we've gotten from Congress the last few years was in one direction, for a robust budget, and in both years they added to our request."
Solange Reyner ✉
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.