The United States has withdrawn from Afghanistan, ending what President Joe Biden has described as “an era of major military operations to remake other countries.” But that does not mean it will spend less money on defense.
By a 42-17 vote on Wednesday, 14 Democrats joined with Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee to add nearly $25 billion to the 2022 defense budget, Politico’s Connor O’Brien reported. That brings the total in Pentagon spending to $740 billion, up from the $715 billion that had been requested by the White House.
“I think in one word we can sum up the ‘why,’ and that’s China,” Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia, said Wednesday. “Right now there are malign actors who seek to attack us and do us harm, whether that’s through provocative and illegal maritime claims in the South China Sea, devastating cyber attacks, or confrontations with our allies, such as Israel,” she said.
President Biden’s requested budget would have increased total military spending by about two percent, which roughly tracked with the annual rate of inflation. That proposal angered Senate progressives, such as Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who argued the budget should be cut and money redirected to social programs.