Progressive House Democrats failed Wednesday to kill Republicans’ push to boost the Pentagon’s budget by $37 billion above President Biden’s request.
In a clear rebuke of Mr. Biden’s defense spending plan, lawmakers voted 277-151 against a measure put forward by Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat, which would have blocked the additional funds included in the committee version of the must-pass defense policy bill.
The Senate’s version of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act includes a similar multi-billion dollar boost to the Defense Department’s top line. The added funds would raise the Pentagon’s budget to $839 billion for fiscal 2023 should the House version receive final passage.
Ms. Lee and her progressive colleagues have long advocated for reining in Defense spending. She introduced a similar measure to block a $25 billion boost to defense spending included in last year’s NDAA out of committee.
Rep. Mark Pocan, Wisconsin Democrat, joined Ms. Lee in introducing a separate measure to this year’s NDAA which would have cut defense spending even further by $100 billion.
“For far too long, this country has put profits ahead of its people,” Ms. Lee said in a statement introducing the measure. “Taking this step to downsize our military budget by $100 billion will ensure that our national security truly centers on the American people, not weapons industry profits.”
The latter measure fared even worse on the House floor Wednesday, with lawmakers rejecting that cut on a 350-78 vote.
Lawmakers are wading through an ocean of amendments to the NDAA, which is expected to pass the House later this week before the Senate takes up its version.