President Biden requested a $753 billion military budget for the 2022 fiscal year, which would be the highest of all time. But this number is not enough for Republican hawks in Congress. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WI) said not increasing the budget by three to five percent would be a “red line” for Republicans. Biden’s budget request would be about a 1.6 percent increase from 2021.
“In my view, that is a red line, and if the administration is not going to be proposing a budget that meets that requirement, then I think they will need to explain to the American people why they’re unwilling to fund defense at the levels the nation needs,” Cheney said at the McAleese Defense Programs Conference, which was held virtually on Wednesday and Thursday.
“I would clearly oppose budgets that were below that number, and I think we’re going to have a very healthy debate and discussion about the administration’s proposal because it is coming in significantly below that number,” she said.
While Cheney might have fallen out of favor with the GOP over her criticisms of Trump and has been removed from her position as party leadership, her opinion on the military budget is still the prevalent view of Republicans in Congress. Leading Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee have been urging Biden to increase the budget by three to five percent.
The Pentagon has recently identified China as the top “pacing threat” to the US military, and Beijing is serving as the hawks’ justification to spend more. After Biden requested his $753 billion budget, Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Richard Shelby (R-AL) released a joint statement calling for more spending.
The statement reads: “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.” The senators claimed China “aspires to overtake America as the world’s dominant superpower.”