Congressional support for increasing the already massive military budget is growing amid Russia’s assault on Ukraine, Stars and Stripes reported on Thursday.
The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act authorized $778 billion in military spending for the 2022 fiscal year, which was $25 billion more than Biden requested. A massive omnibus budget bill that passed in the House on Wednesday will bring that number up to $782 billion, representing a six percent increase in the military budget over last year.
Hawkish Republicans are in favor of increasing the military budget by at least 3% to 5% to account for inflation, which would bring the 2023 military spending to over $800 billion. Some Democrats that have been more hesitant to increase military spending are now calling for a more bloated budget in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
According to Stars and Stripes, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) said the US is now in a moment of rare bipartisanship where the Pentagon can request and receive just about anything it wants.
On top of the $782 for military spending packed into the omnibus is about $14 billion for emergency Ukraine aid, which includes $6.5 billion that will go to the Pentagon for troop deployments in Eastern Europe and to replenish weapons being sent to Ukraine.
Using Russia to justify a bloated military budget is nothing new, but the Pentagon’s focus on Moscow, as well as Beijing, has increased in recent years. The 2018 National Defense Strategy outlined the US military’s shift in focus away from counterterrorism in the Middle East towards so-called “great power competition” with Russia and China.