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Biden asks Congress for $753B in defense spending

US president requests $715 billion for Pentagon, additional $38 billion for non-Pentagon defense programs

Michael Hernandez   | 09.04.2021
Biden asks Congress for $753B in defense spending

WASHINGTON

US President Joe Biden requested Congress allocate some $715 billion to fund the Pentagon on Friday with an additional $38 billion for other national defense programs.

The $753 billion represents a slight increase from Trump-era levels, and is likely to rile progressive liberals who had sought to have defense spending reduced in order to provide greater funding for domestic programs.

The proposal released by the White House does not delve into specific funding items, but notes a 1.7% increase from fiscal year 2021 levels. The defense budget does, however, do away with what is known as Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding, and instead rolls it into the Pentagon's main budget.

OCO has traditionally been used to fund overseas military operations, including in places like Syria and Iraq.

A line item budget that will detail specific funding allocations is expected to be released in the coming months.

A statement released by the Defense Department said the funding request "invests in the core foundations of our country’s strength and advances key Department of Defense priorities to defend the Nation, innovate and modernize the Department, build resilience and readiness, take care of its people, and succeed through teamwork."

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a statement with similar language, describing the mammoth allocation as a critical investment.

"President’s discretionary funding request represents an important investment that will ensure the Department’s resources are matched with our strategy and policy to defend the nation and take care of our people, while revitalizing the key alliances and partnerships to succeed," he said.

The Biden administration has emphasized the need to revitalize old military alliances and expand upon them amid great power competition with China and Russia.

Biden's proposal is a request that will begin a chain of back-and-forth negotiations in Congress as lawmakers establish a final budget that is likely to take months to formulate.

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