A prominent Oklahoma Senator and the White House are headed for a showdown set for Tuesday morning over the administration’s call to cut defense spending.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who chairs the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, signaled last week he may not vote for President Donald Trump's defense budget. The White House is calling for a spending cut, reducing the military’s budget from previous years to $700 billion. The decision is likely one that will appeal to the newly elected Democratic House.
Inhofe and Senate Republicans however are calling on the administration to reverse its decision asking for an increase in spending to $733 billion. That amount appears to be lifted directly from a new report from the hawkish National Defense Strategy Commission which was release late last week.
“I agree with the commission’s report that there must be ‘greater urgency and seriousness in funding national defense’ in order to ensure we can undertake essential nuclear and conventional modernization while rectifying readiness shortfalls,” Inhofe said in a statement squaring off against the White House.
“That is why I believe the $733 billion defense budget originally proposed by President Trump for fiscal year 2020 should be considered a floor, not a ceiling, for funding our troops.”
The 120-page report detailed dire predictions for the United States and its military after the Obama-era spending cuts. The NDSC report suggested increase spending for areas like cyber and outer space security, military modernization and readiness as well as updating and improving nuclear capabilities.
It might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia,” the report’s authors write. “The United States is particularly at risk of being overwhelmed should its military be forced to fight on two or more fronts simultaneously.”
Several House Democrats balked at the idea of increasing defense spending, rather calling for more domestic spending instead. In past years, Democrats have relented and voted to increase defense spending.
Inhofe has scheduled a hearing with the NDS report authors for Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. where he is expected to continue to push for increased spending.