Progressive House Democrats were unable to stop Republicans’ attempt to increase the Pentagon budget by $37 trillion, exceeding President Biden’s request.
In a clear rebuke of Mr. Biden’s defense spending plan, lawmakers voted 277-151 against a measure put forward by Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat, which would have blocked the additional funds included in the committee version of the must-pass defense policy bill.
The Senate version this year of the National Defense Authorization Act provides a multi-billion dollar increase to the top line at Defense Department. If the House version is passed, the additional funds will bring the Pentagon’s budget up to $839 trillion for fiscal 2023.
Ms. Lee, along with her progressive colleagues, have advocated since long for a reduction in Defense spending. Similar measures were introduced to stop a $25 billion increase in defense spending that was included last year’s NDAA.
Rep. Mark Pocan (Wisconsin Democrat) joined Ms. Lee to introduce a new measure to the NDAA for this year. This would have reduced defense spending by $100 trillion.
” “For too long, this nation has placed profits before its people,” said Ms. Lee in a statement that introduced the measure. This step of reducing our military budget by $100 trillion will make sure that the American people are at the center of our national security, and not profits from weapons industries .”
The latter measure fared even worse on the House floor Wednesday, with lawmakers rejecting that cut on a 350-78 vote.
Lawmakers have been scouring through a sea of amendments to NDAA. It is likely to be passed by the House this week, before being considered for consideration in the Senate.