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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Biden administration’s bloated $6.4 trillion budget proposal is more costly than all of World War II and is the equivalent of nearly $50,000 in government spending per American family. This budget prioritizes advancing the socialist Green New Deal, expanding destructive unemployment benefits, and bailing out irresponsible state governments. Budgets generally reflect an administration’s priorities, and the Biden administration has made theirs clear by prioritizing unworkable big government policies over America’s national defense.

This record-breaking spending proposal falls flat when it comes to our nation’s military, especially in comparison to our adversaries. This year, the Chinese Communist Party sent a strong message by expanding their army with the largest proactive military build-up in history. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has made the conscious decision to shortchange our men and women in uniform. The Army’s most recent budget reflects a seven-billion-dollar loss in purchasing power. Almost every branch of our nation’s military will see a reduction in its end strength numbers following the administration’s budget request as it’s forced to juggle staffing, modernization, and readiness.


Recently, I attended a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the defense budget where administration officials justified cuts in procurement as necessary to invest in long-term modernization. Modernization is necessary to preserve peace through strength with China and Russia, but it is a poor choice to invest in modernization at the expense of readiness. The Army’s priorities not funded by the president’s defense budget include critical modernization efforts like aviation upgrades, cybersecurity advancements, and enhancing its Multi-domain Task Forces, which would be vital in any future conflict.

This budget also shortchanges the service’s roll-out of important programs, including the Joint Light Tactical vehicle and Paladin Integrated Management programs, jeopardizing factory jobs throughout the country. Administration officials are risking our country’s safety by sacrificing near-term readiness, a calculation we have seen before. After the Cold War, the U.S. and NATO made drastic cuts to military spending, wrongly presuming an era of peace was on the horizon. At the same time, China invested in artificial intelligence and hypersonics. Russia developed its offensive cyber capabilities. Terrorists attacked us from a cave in Afghanistan—murdering 3,000 Americans. The administration must look at our nation’s history to make the decisions that affect the lives and safety of American families. We must always keep in mind that our allies are already under attack, Hamas launched 4,500 rockets against Israel, and Russian aggression killed 11,000 people in Ukraine.

The Biden administration’s decision to frame these cuts to military spending as a by-product of modernization investments is an incredibly misguided choice that emboldens China, Russia, and transnational terrorists. Congress must increase the defense budget so our warfighters can win the future fight while maintaining the resources to defend against emergent threats. As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I will continue the fight to ensure defense spending is determined by what is necessary to deter threats to our families and not sacrificed for the administration’s bloated spending on a wasteful Democrat wish list.

• Joe Wilson is an American politician and attorney serving as the U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 2nd congressional district since 2001.


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