Biden's overreaching budget outline

By Congressman Tom Cole

Earlier this month, President Biden released his discretionary spending outline for fiscal year 2022 – also known as a “skinny budget.” Unfortunately, instead of addressing issues facing Americans right now, what was instead laid out consisted of a series of progressive wish list items and disturbing cuts in our national defense.

Since taking office, between executive orders and massive legislative packages, President Biden has signed almost $2 trillion of new spending into law. Not only would the spending levels requested in his budget irresponsibly add to the national debt, it would have severe consequences on our economy in the long-term.

Indeed, there is no fiscal responsibility in this outline.

Domestically, the president’s outline proposes too much spending on unnecessary programs and far too little on defense. Along with a 16 percent increase for domestic spending, the outline includes far-left programs such as an environmental justice initiative and billions of dollars for electric vehicles.

The truth is, we live in an uncertain world right now. As China, Russia and Iran build up their militaries and become increasingly more assertive, America cannot afford to stand still or cut back in terms of its own defense spending.

At a minimum, we need to see 3 to 5 percent in annual increases beyond the rate of inflation for defense spending over the next several years.

By contrast, with inflation, the general overview the president submitted would be an effective cut.

Last week, President Biden also made the misguided decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.

Certainly, this could ultimately lead to more attacks on Americans and other nations around the world. The United States should be maintaining our military during times like these instead of withdrawing troops and showing signs of weakness in our enemy’s eyes.

The relatively small number of remaining troops in Afghanistan maintain important onsite capabilities which will be more difficult and costly to accomplish remotely, if possible at all.

It’s also worth noting that even the troop deployment on Capitol Hill has been significantly larger this year than the number of those remaining in Afghanistan.

I have the privilege of representing several large military installations, including Fort Sill in Lawton, Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City as well as several National Guard installations. As a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in the House, I know the importance of providing for our common defense so that military bases like those in my district can continue providing for service members and their families, as well as continue working on their missions to the fullest.

However, the fact is, when it comes to federal government spending, presidents propose but Congresses dispose, and President Biden’s proposed budget outline is very likely to be changed by Congress.

In the days and months ahead, I remain ready to work with the Administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to responsibly fund the government for fiscal year 2022.

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