Can Defense Find Room in Congress’ Agenda?

Can Defense Find Room in Congress’ Agenda?

The country is in a sad state when the Democratic-led Congress is so busy that Defense is begging for a bit of room on the agenda. After all, shouldn’t our Defense be one of the top priorities?

The moment that Congress returns from their July recess, they’ll be working on policy and infrastructure bills.

However, the Department of Defense feels that there are a few more pressing needs. There are some late-arriving defense spending bills that need to be addressed. There are also a few policy bills that need to be voted on. Oh, and President Biden really needs to make a pick for Navy secretary as well as a few other nominees within the Pentagon.

Many Dems could care less about the needs of the military and the rest of the Department of Defense. They’d rather focus on spending $1.9 trillion on infrastructure, even though nearly half of that doesn’t have anything to do with roads, bridges, or anything else structural.

Let’s not forget that the Dems also want to pass the reconciliation bill that will have a significant impact on a budget resolution.

Of course, none of the things that the Dems want to pass are easy. The Republicans are against both bills, which means that if the infrastructure and reconciliation bills do pass, it will be another display of Biden’s partisan leadership.

The liberal Congress loves spending money. It’s actually become such a problem that the U.S. is about to hit the debt ceiling. This means that Congress will have to choose to raise the ceiling or risk default.

Chuck Schumer isn’t looking to add more to the agenda. He actually wrote a letter to his fellow Democrats to explain how the August recess may get delayed so that they can focus on the infrastructure bill and the budget resolution.

The budget resolution, particularly, may take a significant amount of time because it would create the filibuster-proof reconciliation process – a dangerous piece of legislation that could render the Republicans powerless against the Democratic-led Senate.

In the letter to Democrats, Schumer explained “Please be advised that time is of the essence and we have a lot of work to do.”

Well, it looks like Congress is actually going to work for their salary. However, they need to plan on delaying one of their bills or working longer nights and through the weekends in order to make room for the defense needs.

It looks like there’s going to be a crowded schedule in order to get everything done by October 1. This means that there may need to be continuing resolutions to avoid a government shutdown.

The Biden administration has proven time and again that defense items are not a priority – and Schumer’s focus on the infrastructure and the filibuster are further proof of that.

Arnold Punaro, a former Senate Armed Services Committee staff director has seen that presidential transition years always seem to cause everything to run late. He’s predicted that defense bills in terms of authorization and appropriations, will get delayed. If (and that’s a big if) Congress can get around to it, the defense may finally get some time on the agenda between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Defense is getting thrown to the back burner. In Biden’s budget proposal, defense spending is only raised by 1.6 percent. Meanwhile, nondefense gets a 16 percent raise.

At least there’s someone looking to prioritize Defense. Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican out of Alabama has made the promise that his “goal is to get more money for defense.” He explained that there shouldn’t be a struggle for national security. Hear, hear.

editor

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