Jul 24, 2021 12:15 UTC
  • Senate panel's decision to add $25 billion to Biden's massive Pentagon budget angers antiwar activists

The Senate Armed Services Committee's surprise decision to endorse a $25 billion increase to President Joe Biden’s already massive budget request for the Pentagon has angered progressive antiwar activists, who have been demanding cuts to US military spending.

Narrowly controlled by Democrats, the Senate panel approved a $778 billion defense policy bill in a whopping 25 to 1 vote on Wednesday, adding nearly $25 billion to the Biden administration’s budget request.

Only progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, voted against the policy bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

Biden’s defense budget represented a bump from his predecessor Donald Trump’s last defense budget of $740 billion, which Democrats at the time criticized for being too generous.

The near-unity by Democrats on the military spending hike upends an already tumultuous partisan debate in Washington over the overall federal spending, at a time when the Biden administration is trying to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic and work out high-priority spending plans for the nation's worn-out infrastructure.

The Senate panel's decision was met with harsh criticism from progressive activists, who argued that the unwarranted spending increase for the military could instead be diverted to address more urgent domestic policy priorities.

Arms manufacturers, military contractors and defense companies have been showering money on the Senate Arms Services Committee because of its role in setting America’s defense policy.  

Accruing to OpenSecrets, a transparency group tracking money in US politics, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics were two of the main contributors to Senator Jack Reed, the committee’s Democratic chairman, during the 2020 election campaign.