We Can’t Compete With China Without Robust Defense Funding
‘[A]ll the policy tweaks in the world would not amount to much help if we lose our military edge with respect to China. ‘Soft power’ isn’t much good without hard power to back it up.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding competing with China:
“Last week, a bipartisan majority of Senators voted to proceed to floor debate about our nation’s long-term competition with China.
“There’s no disagreement that the People’s Republic’s strategic capabilities and its growing influence beyond the Indo-Pacific, pose a singular challenge to American strength and security. There is robust debate about the right ways to address this challenge.
“The legislation before us arrived on the floor incomplete, and it spans a number of huge issues that occupy multiple committees’ jurisdictions. It’s a prime example of a bill that needs a thorough, bipartisan amendment process in the United States Senate.
“So far, we’ve had a few votes on important amendments. There are a lot more that need consideration, and we should not close debate on this bill until those amendments are addressed.
“Unfortunately, during one important vote last week, our Democratic colleagues sent a telling signal.
“They voted down Ranking Member Inhofe and Vice Chairman Shelby’s amendment to make sure that the real backbone of our competition with China, the resources we allocate to our Armed Forces and national defense, was not neglected.
“Make no mistake. Supply chains, espionage, intellectual property — these are all important topics. But all the policy tweaks in the world would not amount to much help if we lose our military edge with respect to China. “Soft power” isn’t much good without hard power to back it up.
“The Chinese Communist Party appears to understand this quite clearly. According to one watchdog, it’s increased military investment by 76% over the last decade.
“The same data show that our own U.S. defense spending fell 10% over that period, thanks to the approach of the last Democratic administration. And now President Biden has signaled that he wants to cut defense spending after inflation. Exactly the wrong approach.
“No serious strategy for our competition with massive foreign powers could leave the U.S. Armed Forces, their tools, and their resources out of the conversation in a meaningful way.
“I hope and expect we’ll have a number of further votes on important amendments before there would be any attempt to shut off debate on this wide-ranging bill.”
Related Issues: China, America's Military