Biden's defense budget splits the difference, disappoints liberals


President Biden is expected to ask for $715 billion for the Department of Defense in his first full annual budget, a stay-the-course move unlikely to satisfy either defense hawks in the GOP or progressive Democrats.

The figure is a slight increase from the current Pentagon budget but less than the $722 billion the outgoing Trump administration had planned to seek. Officials in the Defense Department said they were preparing for a budget that was flat or even decreased.

The White House is just releasing the “top-line” numbers for Cabinet departments. It’s not immediately clear what specific programs in the Pentagon might have to be cut or reduced in light of the new figures.

The budget would mark a compromise between Republicans like Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe who pushed for a bigger number and many progressive Democrats who wanted cuts in the Pentagon’s budget to accommodate higher domestic social spending.

Benjamin H. Friedman, policy director for the liberal group Defense Priorities, said Mr. Biden‘s defense funding request was “not surprising,” but disappointing nonetheless.

“The U.S. defense budget remains far too high, a servant of an excessively ambitious strategy that confuses global dominance with safety, U.S. garrisons with stability, and other people’s security with ours,” he said in a statement. “A more restrained strategy would save a fortune.”

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