President Joe Biden plans to request an allocation of $715 billion for the US’ defence budget, which is a $7 billion decrease from Trump-era figure, the news agency Bloomberg has cited unnamed sources as saying.
The sources claimed that Biden is due to outline the military budget later on Friday, with the $715 billion Pentagon “topline” expected to be presented as a compromise to Democrats who are pressing for defence spending cuts.
One of the insiders argued that during the Friday presentation of the proposed budget, Biden will most likely scrap previous US administrations’ practices by no longer labelling funding for current military operations as “overseas contingency operations,” or OCO.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly slammed OCO as a “slush fund” that should be spent as part of the regular Pentagon budget.
On the whole, the US’ fiscal budget for 2022 will reportedly be the first such document in a decade, in which defence and non-defence spending are not constrained by budget caps. This means that Congress will be able to shift funds from military to non-military needs, or vice versa.
In mid-March, a group of 50 House Democrats urged Biden to reduce the Pentagon’s budget in order to pay for diplomatic and domestic activities.
In a letter to the POTUS, the Democrats underscored that the military budget should be cut so as to “re-evaluate” the US’ “spending priorities as a nation”.
“That re-evaluation should begin with the Department of Defence. Hundreds of billions of dollars now directed to the military would have greater return if invested in diplomacy, humanitarian aid, global public health, sustainability initiatives, and basic research,” the letter pointed out.