The Senate minority leader is upset President Joe Biden doesn't want to increase defense spending more.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Senate Republicans released a joint statement on Friday blasting President Joe Biden's budget for not increasing defense spending enough.
Just days earlier, McConnell (R-KY) said he and his caucus would oppose Biden's American Jobs Plan, in part out of concern about the growing national debt.
McConnell and Sens. Jim Inhofe (OK), Marco Rubio (FL), Graham (SC), and Shelby (AL) complained that Biden's "disappointing defense budget" does not keep pace with China's military spending.
"While President Biden has prioritized spending trillions on liberal wish list priorities here at home, funding for America's military is neglected," the senators wrote.
"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," they charged, arguing that because it does not keep up with inflation, a multibillion dollar increase constitutes a cut. "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."
It also included a 1.6% increase in national defense program spending, bringing that up to $753 billion — nearly as much as the $769 billion total requested for non-defense discretionary spending. A total of $715 billion of that would go to the Department of Defense; the rest would fund the National Nuclear Security Administration and other defense programs.
The inflation rate for the past year was about 1.7%.
McConnell's free-spending rhetoric comes just days after he said Biden wants to increase the deficit by too much with his $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan.
On March 31, he called the proposal a "Trojan horse" that would "be more borrowed money, and massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy.”
On March 3, McConnell used similar arguments to oppose Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. "We think having a debt the size of our economy for the first time since World War II already doesn't argue for adding $2 trillion more when the country is clearly on the way back," he told Fox News.
In February, he slammed that COVID-19 relief package as a "massive, partisan, poorly-targeted borrowing spree" and predicted that it "will not serve Americans to pile another huge mountain of debt on our grandkids for policies that even liberal economists say are poorly-targeted to current needs."
Polling has shown both plans are hugely popular — even among most GOP voters.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.