Mississippi News

Wicker: Biden’s Budget Is Exactly Backwards

Note: The following is the weekly Wicker Report and is provided by the office of Sen. Roger Wicker. Opinions expressed are not neccessarily that of this publication.

By Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

President’s Budget Raises Taxes, Lowers Defense Investment

Spending habits say a lot about a person. That principle holds true when it comes to President Biden’s new budget, which puts tax increases ahead of the national defense. His priorities are backwards. They project weakness and fail to equip American service members at this dangerous time in our history.

Our enemies are growing more hostile in every corner of the globe. The Chinese Communist Party is once again increasing its military spending by over seven percent. Russia shows no sign of stopping if it succeeds in Ukraine, and North Korea is going on the offense after years of playing defense. Iran is financing hundreds of attacks on our troops in the Middle East.

This moment begs for a thunderous declaration of American resolve. Instead, it seems the leader of the free world would rather preside over a quiet decline in strength. For the fourth year in a row, the president has asked Congress to cut national security funding.

We Cannot Afford Underinvestment

Americans must resist the temptation to tune out when they read the word “budget.” These documents are much more than stale lines on a black and white spreadsheet. Budgets put weapons in soldiers’ hands, send ships to sea, and bolster our nuclear deterrent.

Funding these budgets is expensive. But failing to do so would be vastly more expensive. For example, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would plunge the world into an economic depression. Everyone in Mississippi would suffer. Historically, our foes have backed down when they see we have power to resist them. Beijing holds its fire – for now – because it believes America is stronger.

The president’s budget fails to recognize that China wants to take control of the Pacific. It represents a commander-in-chief who refuses to expedite the delivery of tools commanders need to secure the region.

More of the Same Weakness

When the budget was released, Pentagon officials highlighted its “continuity” with last year. That is a polite way to say the American people are getting more of the same. Like the last three annual budgets, this one is wholly inadequate.

President Biden’s proposals would weaken an already-struggling defense industrial base.

Our munitions stockpiles and missile defense systems urgently need updates. But in the budget’s many pages, Americans will find no mention of funding that creates solutions.

Under the president’s budget, the Department of Defense would purchase fewer fighter planes, helicopters, and drones. The plan would cut the purchase of an attack submarine, and it would slash missile defense support, leaving our forces and homeland more vulnerable.

Follow the National Defense Strategy

Last week, the president began his State of the Union address by comparing our global situation to the days before the United States entered World War II. He was correct to do so. His words were meant to show he understands our perilous state of affairs. But his anemic budget does not pair those words with action.

The president must choose a different path. And the outline to such a path is already there. Military leaders at the Pentagon have published the National Defense Strategy, a plan outlining a strong American response to rising threats. We should follow it. We should fund it.

As the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will help lead the drafting of this year’s national defense bill. I am working with America’s top military officials to put the National Defense Strategy into practice through this legislation. We urge the president to join us.