Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood addressed questions about the main budget number to the White House Office of Management and Budget, adding that the Pentagon “will provide additional information” once the levels are released. . An OMB spokesperson did not immediately comment. Bloomberg first reported the Pentagon’s planned top line.
In numbers: Biden was largely expected to ask for a fixed budget. The $ 715 billion level would mark an increase of about 1.5% in defense spending from the current year’s level, effectively making it an inflation-adjusted fiscal boost.
Although this is a slight increase from the current level, revenue would still be lower than the $ 722 billion forecast by the Trump administration in its final budget presentation. This change would result in cuts of billions of dollars from what the Pentagon budgets had planned to request.
The total includes the Pentagon’s base budget, but does not include Department of Energy spending on nuclear weapons.
Money to deter China and Russia: The plan falls short of the 3-5% push that GOP lawmakers are pressuring the White House to approve. They argue that the range, established by Pentagon leaders under the Trump administration, is what is needed to adequately fund a military transformation to counter threats from China and Russia.
In the weeks leading up to the budget’s release, leading Republicans stepped up their offensive, warning Biden of stagnating or cutting military spending and criticizing Democrats seeking defense cuts.
Senior Republicans on Senate and House Armed Services committees, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) And Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Have lined up in favor of the increases, while the chief of Senate minority Mitch McConnell has warned that Biden’s seriousness in the fight against China will be judged by the robustness of his military spending plan.
Cut-off calls: Biden is also under pressure from his left to pursue aggressive cuts to the Pentagon budget and redirect money to diplomacy and national programs that his party sees as more urgent.
Fifty House Democrats urged Biden in a letter last month to ask for a “drastically reduced” Pentagon budget, and argued that the defense budget could be cut by more than 10% without affecting national security.
Lara Seligman contributed to this report.