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Biden proposes $842 billion in spending for US military

- THE HILL - Greg Nash - MAR, 2023 -

The 2024 budget proposal is a 3.2 percent increase for the Pentagon from the previous fiscal year and part of a whopping $6.8 trillion overall White House proposal.

Biden is requesting $842 billion for the Pentagon, up from the $816 billion Congress approved for the last fiscal year and well over the $773 billion he asked for in 2022.

The budget proposes investments to support the defense industrial base, nuclear modernization efforts and a 5.2 percent pay increase for U.S. troops and the civilian workforce.

The president also wants to take on China and Russia. The request for the Defense Department includes $9.1 billion to bolster the U.S. presence in the Indo-Pacific region and another $6 billion to support Ukraine and NATO allies.

In a message to Congress, Biden said this year's budget proposal “cements our commitment to confronting global challenges and keeping America safe.”

“It outlines crucial investments to out-compete China globally and to continue support for Ukraine in the face of unprovoked Russian aggression,” the president said.

While Republicans themselves are likely to advocate for certain defense spending increases, Biden's $6 trillion overall budget is likely dead on arrival in the GOP-controlled House, where the slim Republican majority wants to slash spending and reduce the federal deficit.

“A budget that proposes to increase non-defense spending at more than twice the rate of defense is absurd," Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), said in a statement.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, called it a "strong" budget, a similar sentiment shared by HASC ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.).

"President Biden’s topline request addresses a complex range of national security and national defense challenges," Smith said in a statement, "from strategic competition with China and Russia, to addressing challenges posed by rogue actors and violent extremist organizations and climate change."

Despite the hefty number, the defense budget is actually a small cut compared to the last fiscal year when considering inflation, according to Mark Cancian with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Still, the defense budget is expected to get another boost by the time Congress approves the National Defense Authorization Act.

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