In another indication that the Washington establishment has firm control of the Biden administration’s foreign policy thinking, the White House reportedly plans to request $715 billion for the Pentagon for fiscal year 2022, $11 billion more than what Congress approved for this year.
“Biden has largely been expected to request a flat budget,” Politico reports, but “[t]he $715 billion level would mark a roughly 1.5 percent increase in defense spending from the current year’s level, making it effectively an inflation-adjusted budget boost.”
The news drew wide condemnation from all sides of the ideological spectrum.
“Following a year of deadly proof that throwing money at the Pentagon does not keep us safe from modern day threats, it is unconscionable to not only extend Trump’s spending spree, but to add to it,” said Erica Fein, advocacy director for the progressive group Win Without War. She added that while questions are frequently asked about how to pay for combatting major challenges like pandemics and climate change, “the same question is never asked of adding to the Pentagon’s already-overstuffed coffers.”
Andrew Lautz, director of federal policy at the conservative National Taxpayers Union agrees. “The president’s proposal for an increase to the defense budget in fiscal year 2022 does not pass muster with taxpayers,” he said. “Administration officials and lawmakers should be looking for sensible, responsible cuts to the Pentagon budget, and outside experts have identified tens of billions of dollars of possibilities for this fiscal year alone.”
NTU recently offered a plan to cut the defense budget by more than $300 billion.
Nathan Anderson, executive director for Concerned Veterans for America, a conservative group, said in order to curb reckless federal spending, the Pentagon’s budget is the place to start.
“As long as we desire our military to remain a top-notch fighting force capable of securing our vital interests, we cannot overspend our limited defense resources on investments not critical to those interests,” he said.
Others note the outdated thinking on what it means to keep Americans safe.
“The pandemic made clear that we can no longer afford to keep funding wasteful and unnecessary Pentagon spending at the expense of great public health and safety needs,” said Mandy Smithberger, director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight. We continue to worry that these levels of spending aren’t just unsustainable, but counterproductive for advancing the reforms we need to see at the Department of Defense.