The debt ceiling agreement reached between the White House and House Republicans that was announced Sunday caps military spending at $886 billion for 2024, matching President Biden’s requested budget.
Republicans negotiating the debt ceiling deal only sought non-military spending cuts. The $886 billion cap for military spending represents about a 3.3% increase from 2023.
The White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) still need to get the debt ceiling agreement passed through Congress. Many hawkish Republicans will likely oppose the deal as they previously blasted Biden’s massive $886 billion request as “inadequate.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) slammed the debt limit deal in an appearance on Fox News on Sunday. “The Biden defense budget was a joke before, and if we adopt it as Republicans, we will be doing a big disservice to the party of Ronald Reagan,” Graham said.
“The biggest winner of the Biden defense budget is China because they’ll have a bigger navy,” Graham added.
Hawks in Congress have gotten their way over the past two years as they approved significantly more military spending than what President Biden requested for 2022 and 2023. For 2023, President Biden asked for $813 billion in military spending, but Congress added $45 billion, bringing the finalized National Defense Authorization Act to $858 billion.
A similar increase for 2024 could bring the NDAA close to $1 trillion. The US also authorizes other national security spending that is not included in the NDAA. According to analyst Winslow Wheeler, factoring in other types of expenditures on the national security state, including interest on debt and the Veteran Affairs budget, would bring the total defense budget for 2024 to around $1.5 trillion.