Pentagon Could Receive $10B More Than Requested Amid Infrastructure Fight

The Senate Appropriations Committee announced its support for $725.8 billion in funding for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year 2022 on Monday in a move that could set up a battle with progressives.

The figure for Pentagon spending in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2022, is more than $10 billion more than President Joe Biden requested, but total appropriations for defense will be higher.

The decision comes as Democrats in Congress are divided over a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a proposed $3.5 trillion infrastructure and social spending bill known as the Build Back Better Act.

The committee's summary of the bill noted: "This amount is $29.3 billion more
than the fiscal year 2021 enacted level."

Biden had requested $715 billion in Pentagon funding for 2022.

Military construction isn't included in the defense spending bill, but it is contained in the separate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Bill.

That bill, approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee in August, provides $124.4 billion in discretionary funding. That's $11.2 billion more than in 2021 and $1.1 billion more than Biden requested.

The combined spending is approaching the $25 billion increase in military funding proposed by the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) in July.

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), who is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee defense subcommittee, said in a statement: "I made sure this bill strengthens our military and ensures the brave men and women that protect this country have the resources they need to keep Americans safe

"It makes key investments to address the most pressing needs of our military so we don't lose ground to our adversaries, like China," he said.

The committee's announcement may be seen as a blow to progressives, who have argued that the Pentagon already receives adequate funding and have opposed military spending increases.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents New York's 14th congressional district, introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last month that would have seen a 10 percent budget cut. It was rejected by the House of Representatives.

The House approved the NDAA that contained spending of $768 billion. Now that the Senate Appropriations Committee has published the defense spending bill, both chambers will have to work together to reach agreement.

Progressives and moderates in the Democratic Party have been at odds over a pair of spending bills in recent weeks, with Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) saying they won't support the Build Back Better Act with the proposed $3.5 trillion price tag. The White House is also reportedly rewriting the bill to remove a climate change provision due to Manchin's objections.

Vote Has Been Delayed

A House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill has been delayed amid progressives' threat to vote against the measure. It has already been passed by the Senate.

Defense spending is likely to be a continuing flashpoint in the conflict within the Democratic Party and more funding for the Pentagon is also likely. Roxana Tiron, senior reporter covering U.S. Congress and national security for Bloomberg Government, reported on Monday that Senate Democrats are proposing another $23.7 billion in spending across two bills.

Correction 10/19/21, 6:20 a.m. ET: This article was updated to correct the spelling of Senator Jon Tester's name.

UPDATE 10/19/21, 6:53 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include a new photo.

Military Honor Guard Attends a Welcoming Ceremony
A military honor guard arrives for a welcome ceremony for Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak at the Pentagon October 6, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon could receive $10 billion than more in 2022 than the Biden administration requested. Drew Angerer/Getty Images