Seven Republican members of the House’s China committee led by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) sent a letter to congressional leaders on Sunday calling for an additional $12 billion to be added to President Biden’s behemoth $105 billion spending request. Biden’s request includes military aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and funding for border security.
“We write to you today to urge you to increase funding for the Indo-Pacific, our stated priority theater, above the levels set in the Biden Administration’s supplemental appropriations request to more appropriately address the urgency of the threat in the region,” the letter reads.
The lawmakers said they support arming Ukraine and Israel but want more focus on preparing for a future conflict with China. “Ensuring that Israel and Ukraine have the resources they need to defeat authoritarian aggression today is in our direct national security interests. Yet if we fail to provide the resources necessary to deter CCP aggression tomorrow, history will not forgive our inaction, nor will it spare us the consequences,” the letter states.
Biden’s $105 billion request already includes $7.4 billion dedicated to the Indo-Pacific region. The $7.4 billion is broken down into $3.4 billion in spending on submarine production to support the AUKUS military pact, $2 billion in financial aid to the region, and $2 billion in military aid, a sizable portion of which is expected to go to Taiwan.
The $2 billion in military aid in President Biden’s request is in the form of Foreign Military Financing, a State Department program that gives foreign governments money to purchase US arms. Out of the $12 billion Gallagher and the other China hawks want to add to the request, $2 billion would go toward military aid for Taiwan using Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the US to send weapons directly from Pentagon stockpiles.
Taiwan received FMF and PDA military aid this year, marking the first time the US provided military aid to the island since 1979 when Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan to open up with Beijing. The US has sold weapons to Taiwan since then but never before provided them free of charge or financed the purchases. While done in the name of deterrence, this new type of US military support for Taiwan has infuriated Beijing.
In the letter, Gallagher and the other lawmakers said another $10 billion was needed to prepare for a fight over Taiwan. “Additional investments on the order of $10 billion are required to urgently enhance our own ability to respond in the event of a conflict,” they said. “This starts by maxing out current production lines for US Indo-Pacific Command’s (INDOPACOM) critical munitions while pouring concrete for new facilities to increase production capacity moving forward. Just a few of these critical munitions include Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles, Naval Strike Missiles, Patriot batteries, ATACMS, PrSMs, Harpoons, and Joint Strike Missiles.”