Democrats Vote To Shortchange Defense In Favor Of Their Massive Tax-And-Spending Spree

SEN. SHELBY: ‘Supporting Trillions Of Taxpayer Dollars For Other Infrastructure And Social Programs Without Investing In Our National Defense Is Shameful And Inexcusable’


All 50 Senate Democrats voted against the amendment offered by Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) that would have provided badly-needed upgrades for our military to keep pace with China and Russia, choosing instead their partisan multitrillion tax-and-spending spree. (S.Amdt.3293, S.Con.Res.14, Roll Call Vote #325: Amendment Rejected 46-53: D 0-48; R 46-3; I 0-2; 8/10/2021)

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Russia and China have spent years investing heavily in military modernization with a specific eye toward threatening U.S. forces. We spent the previous administration repairing the readiness of our forces and beginning to modernize after years on the back foot. A bipartisan commission concluded we would need sustained increases in defense funding to successfully counter the growing Russian and Chinese capabilities. And yet, adjusting for inflation, President Biden’s [budget] proposal would amount to a reduction in spending. This administration has talked tough with both these rivals, and I’ve given credit where credit’s been due. But when the time came to speak in the languages that Putin and Xi understand best — money, and power — this White House flinched. [Earlier this year,] Russia reminded us of the threat it poses to Europe with a massive mobilization of forces on Ukraine’s border. NATO allies are already struggling to meet their commitments on collective security. Would declining American spending make Putin more likely, or less likely, to think twice next time? And what about China? Would China be more likely, or less likely, to respect its neighbors’ territorial waters if the U.S. stops contending for an edge in naval and long-range capabilities, and lets ourselves fall behind? The head of U.S. Strategic Command reported [in April] that both Russia and China are modernizing their nuclear arsenals faster than the United States. He warned that if we fail to keep pace, we will be, quote, ‘at risk of losing credibility in the eyes of our adversaries.’ Our nuclear triad has preserved the peace for decades. But crucial components are now decades older than the men and women we have operating them. If we want to maintain effective deterrence, we have to modernize. Whether this Administration likes it or not, we are locked in a race with adversaries who plan decades ahead. A lack of resolve will compound on itself and invite disaster. That cannot be the legacy President Biden hopes to leave.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 4/27/2021)

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL), Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman: “Democrats are all too willing to neglect our defense infrastructure needs while spending hand over fist on their liberal wish list.  This so-called budget proposal is yet another example of that.  Supporting trillions of taxpayer dollars for other infrastructure and social programs without investing in our national defense is shameful and inexcusable.  We are responsible for providing our men and women in uniform what they need to protect us, and this amendment helps accomplish that.  National security is supremely important.  If Senate Democrats continue to prioritize a reckless social spending spree and ignore the needs of our Armed Forces, the future of this country will be in jeopardy.” (Sen. Shelby, Press Release, 8/10/2021)

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK), Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member: “President Biden’s defense budget proposal was woefully inadequate, and Senator Sanders’ and the Senate Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spend budget continues these misguided efforts to shortchange national defense funding when we can least afford it. Our amendment provides an additional $50.2 billion for vital defense infrastructure that supports high-paying jobs in states across the country, improves the lives of Americans, especially our service members and their families, and makes our country safer and more secure. Senator Schumer didn’t allow a vote on this amendment during the infrastructure debate, but there’s no stopping amendments during vote-a-rama.” (Sen. Shelby, Press Release, 8/10/2021)

SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS), Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Ranking Member: “As national Democrats continue their headlong rush toward a massive $3.5 trillion reckless tax and spending spree, Senate Republicans are working to ensure the needs of our nation’s military are not overlooked. Over the past few days, Senator Shelby, Senator Inhofe, and I have offered a sensible proposal that would help to address a massive backlog of repair and construction projects at Department of Defense facilities, including our nation’s shipyards, but our efforts have been blocked at every turn. These provisions have wide support from our defense leaders, and I know for a fact that many of my Democratic colleagues agree they are necessary in light of recent advances by China and Russia. I am hoping that common sense will prevail, and they will agree that this is an investment we cannot afford to skip over.” (Sen. Shelby, Press Release, 8/10/2021)


In Contrast, Two Weeks Ago, The Senate Armed Services Committee Agreed On A Bipartisan Basis To An Amendment Boosting Funding For Defense

SEN. INHOFE: “After a lengthy but productive markup, I’m proud this year’s bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act increases the defense topline to the National Defense Strategy Commission’s recommendation of three to five percent real growth. This is a big win for our national security and sends a strong message to both our allies and adversaries that America is prepared to stand up for ourselves and our friends. The world we face today is more dangerous than I’ve seen in my lifetime, and our military must be ready to meet any and all challenges we face.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Press Release, 7/22/2021)

“The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved a $778 billion defense policy bill, adding nearly $25 billion more to the defense budget than the Biden administration requested. The funding boost would go entirely to the Pentagon, giving the department $740.3 billion compared to the Biden administration’s request for $715 billion…. The increase was approved as a Republican-proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that received bipartisan support …” (“Senate Panel Adds $25B To Biden's Defense Budget,” The Hill, 7/22/2021)

  • “That total amount of funding would be $25 billion more than President Joe Biden sought for the coming fiscal year and $37 billion more than was enacted for fiscal 2021. Biden’s defense request, by comparison, was about 1.6 percent above the fiscal 2021 level, and the additional boost proposed by the Senate committee — if appropriators agree — would put next year’s spending more than 5 percent higher than this year’s. That’s probably enough to keep pace with even heightened inflation in fiscal 2022.” (“Senate Committee Proposes Big Pentagon Funding Boost,” Roll Call, 7/22/2021)
  • “By setting the topline for defense at $777.9 billion, the committee appears to have enabled itself to authorize spending to not only meet the president’s goals — such as a 2.7 percent pay raise for military personnel and Defense Department civilians — but also to bankroll virtually all the so-called unfunded priorities on the service chiefs’ lists.” (“Senate Committee Proposes Big Pentagon Funding Boost,” Roll Call, 7/22/2021)


REMINDER: ‘There Must Be Greater Urgency And Seriousness In Funding National Defense’

BIPARTISAN NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY COMMISSION: “Without additional resources, and without greater stability and predictability in how those resources are provided, the Department will be unable to fulfill the ambition of the [National Defense Strategy] or create and preserve U.S. military advantages in the years to come. There must be greater urgency and seriousness in funding national defense. In accordance with the testimony of [Former Defense] Secretary [James] Mattis and [former] Chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph] Dunford in 2017, this Commission recommends that Congress increase the base defense budget at an average rate of three to five percent above inflation through the Future Years Defense Program and perhaps beyond.” (“Providing For The Common Defense: The Assessment and Recommendations of the National Defense Strategy Commission,” Commission on the National Defense Strategy for the United States, 11/2018)

U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND COMMANDER ADMIRAL CHARLES A. RICHARD: “We’re at a point where end-of-life limitations and cumulative effects of underinvestment in our nuclear deterrent and supporting infrastructure against the expanding threat leave me no operational margin. The nation simply cannot attempt to indefinitely life-extend leftover Cold War weapon systems and successfully carry out the assigned strategy. They’re at risk of losing credibility in the eyes of our adversaries and if they continue to work at all, they will likely not be able to pace the threat that they’re intended to deter.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 4/20/2021)


Meanwhile, China Continues To Increase Its Military Spending

“China projected defense spending growth of 6.8% this year, the largest gain since 2019, amid tensions with the U.S. and key neighbors. Military expenditure is expected to climb to 1.35 trillion yuan ($208 billion) in the coming year, the Ministry of Finance said Friday. The figure, released at the start of the annual National People’s Congress meeting in Beijing, compares with a projected rise of 1.8% in budgeted fiscal spending.” (“China’s Defense Budget Climbs 6.8% as Economy Recovers,” Bloomberg, 3/04/2021)

“China’s defense spending has seen a nearly seven-fold increase over the past two decades, jumping from $39.6 billion in 1999 to $266.4 billion in 2019. China currently spends more on defense than Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam combined, and China’s military spending is second only to the United States.” (“What Does China Really Spend on its Military?,” China Power, CSIS, 3/08/2021)



Related Issues: America's Military, China, Russia, Senate Democrats, Budget, National Security