President Joe Biden is expected to release his 2023 budget request on Monday and he’s reportedly set to ask for $813.3 billion in defense and national security spending.
The forthcoming request, reported by Bloomberg News, represents an increase of $31 billion, or 4%, over the $782 billion provided in the 2022 annual funding bill Biden signed last week — and a $43 billion boost compared to the White House budget office’s 2023 projection from a year ago.
The defense topline would include $773 billion for the Pentagon and billions more for the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons and national security programs at other agencies.
“The budget reflects the increasing military challenge from China and the development of costly new defense systems -- from upgrading the nation’s aging nuclear arsenal to development of new hypersonic weapons,” Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio and Roxana Tiron note. “The request will include $130.1 billion for research and development --the Pentagon’s largest-ever request in that category -- that will be steered to categories such as accelerated research into hypersonics and artificial intelligence. That’s about $15.6 billion more than the budget office had projected last year.”
Republicans press for more: A group of 40 Republican members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees wrote to Biden Wednesday urging him to seek a 5% increase above inflation for defense spending. They cited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as threats from China, North Korea and Iran in arguing that “the threats to our national security have grown exponentially” over the last year.
“This is a crucial period for our national security,” the letter said. “If we do not make the investments our military needs today, we will not be able to defend our nation or our allies in the future. The security of the free world depends on a credible American military.”
The letter was led by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee.
Biden’s budget request last April sought more than $6 trillion in spending, including $753 billion for defense, a 1.7% increase. Lawmakers ultimately upped the defense number to $782 billion.
The bottom line: Defense spending is set to rise as lawmakers eye inflation, geopolitical developments and the need for U.S. military and nuclear modernization. Biden’s request is just that, and while progressives may again push back on rising military spending, Congress appears likely to again top the president's defense budget request.