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Rubio, McConnell, Inhofe, Graham, and Shelby Statement on Biden’s Disappointing Defense Budget

Apr 9, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, and Richard Shelby (R-AL), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee in issuing the following joint statement regarding the Biden Administration’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget:
“President Biden recently said, ‘If we don’t get moving, [China] is going to eat our lunch.’ Today’s budget proposal signals to China that they should set the table. While President Biden has prioritized spending trillions on liberal wish list priorities here at home, funding for America’s military is neglected.
“China aspires to overtake America as the world’s dominant superpower. Over the past decade, China’s defense spending has increased by $200 billion, while America’s has decreased by $400 billion. China’s military investments match its desire to out-compete America and hold our military forces at risk. President Biden’s defense spending cut doesn’t even keep up with inflation. Meanwhile, the non-defense discretionary budget increases by almost 20 percent in this budget on top of the trillions of dollars in new non-national security programs the administration is intent on spending this year. If President Biden’s support for America’s military matched his zeal for spending at home, China would get nowhere close to overtaking us.  
“President Biden’s budget proposal cuts defense spending, sending a terrible signal not only to our adversaries in Beijing and Moscow, but also to our allies and partners. Cutting America’s defense budget completely undermines Washington Democrats’ tough talk on China and calls into question the administration’s willingness to confront the Chinese Communist Party.
“President Biden’s own Pentagon leadership team acknowledges that the defense strategy they inherited is largely on the right track, and that resourcing the strategy requires significant real growth in the defense budget. Anything less than real growth will force the Department to choose between taking care of service members and ensuring they have the tools and training to meet new and growing threats. We ask our Armed Forces not only to counter threats from the PRC, but also from Russia, Iran, North Korea, and radical Islamic terrorists. We need to give them the resources they need.
“Long-term strategic competition with the Chinese Communist Party will require coherent strategies, creative thinking, and sustained investments in all our national security tools: military, diplomatic, economic, technological, informational, intelligence, and more. We’re ready to work through regular order to develop additional bipartisan legislation to address China. But that process can’t work if the administration insists on budget cuts for the most important tool in our toolbox. U.S. military power enhances all our other tools and represents the best deterrent against near-term threats posed by Xi’s People’s Liberation Army. It is not tough talk alone that will get Beijing’s attention, but American defense spending and combat-credible American forces in theater.
“Talk is cheap, but defending our country is not. We can’t afford to fail in our constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense. To keep America strong, we must balance domestic and defense spending priorities.  President Biden has said much about reaching across the aisle.  Both parties should be able to agree that we must maintain America’s edge over China.  We urge President Biden to work with us in a bipartisan manner to ensure that.”