Congress Is Finally Focusing On The Defense Issue

According to a report, legislators on Capitol Hill are anticipated to make rapid progress this month on the fiscal 2024 military budget and yearly defense authorization bill now that the debt ceiling issue has been resolved, with the goal of completing this work by the end of July.

The debt limit impasse postponed markups of the House and Senate authorization bills that were scheduled for last month. They will likely be rescheduled over the next several weeks by the chambers’ armed services committees.

Defense budget planning for next year has also been put on hold until the debt ceiling talks are complete. 

The budget agreement reached between the White House and House Republican leaders, and enacted into law late last week, established $886 billion in military funding for the next fiscal year.

However, there is some flexibility in that goal. Several senators, both Democrats, and Republicans, have pointed out that this amount, an increase of 3%, is not enough to keep up with international threats and have called for a military supplemental to make up the difference. Given that this summer’s session is only set to last for six weeks, political leaders must make a choice fast whether to disregard those criticisms or seek methods to increase the budget.

But where is that money going?

During a CNN town hall, former VP Mike Pence announced his candidacy for President in 2024 and straight away criticized the Biden administration’s policy toward Ukraine, arguing that it does not go far enough in deploying American taxpayer dollars to provide Ukraine with the necessary military resources.

Pence expressed his frustration at what he saw as Biden’s failure to act on pledges.

Pence said President Joe Biden was extremely slow to deliver military resources to Ukraine. In January, they made a pledge of 33 Abrams tanks. They have not heard back from them yet. They’re still waiting for F-16s to be sent there from some unknown location.

The United States has provided Ukraine nearly $40 billion in war support since the Biden administration began in 2021.