June 24, 2021

Smith Opening Statement: House Budget Committee Hearing on President Biden's FY22 DOD Budget

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, Undersecretary McCord and Vice Admiral Boxall. Thank you for being here.

President Biden and Washington Democrats are leading the effort in this budget to defund our men and women in uniform - but that’s just part of a larger effort to defund the safety and security of the American people whether its at our border or in our local communities. And it layers billions in funding to satisfy the priorities of their wealthy friends and supporters.

This is nonsense or what we in Missouri call “hogwash.” This budget shows me there’s very little concern for the safety and security of our troops and the American people they serve bravely to protect. It shows an unwillingness to stand strong with our allies and will embolden our enemies.

I have to say, I don’t envy the position you’re in right now. While President Biden is proposing to effectively flatline your budget, some of my colleagues on the other side are actually fighting about whether that is still too generous. If you’ll recall, just last year Senator Sanders and his progressive allies voted to slash your budget by 10 percent; and even some in this Chamber are calling for a cut of more than 50 percent! Many of us are deeply concerned about the effects on our military if they get their way.

Our number one job is to keep Americans and their families safe at home. Blind cuts to America’s military would be a disaster and take away important resources from our men and women in uniform. Resources they need to stay safe and meet the challenges facing our nation, including the rise of China.Unfortunately, this budget falls short.

The President is pushing a massive spending and tax plan. $17 trillion in new debt. Taxes on Americans to the tune of $55 trillion. In fact, the President breaks his pledge NOT to raise taxes on American families earning under $400,000 just to pay for his liberal priorities.

The Administration wants to give non-defense agencies a 16 percent raise on average, on top of the billions Congress has provided in response to the pandemic. But for your Department, it would reduce spending to its lowest level in over 80 years.

By that time, under this budget, America will pay more to settle the interest on our national debt – that President Biden has run up – than we will spend on our entire national defense.

On top of that, this budget request fails to keep up with inflation. The rising prices Americans are already seeing at the pump and in the checkout line are a direct result of this Administration’s reckless spending. Continuing these policies will only make it worse and drive up procurement costs – the cost of the very  equipment and tools our military members need to do their jobs safely.

Many of my colleagues, myself included, are deeply concerned about the cuts inflation would force you to make because of this radical budget, and the strategic advantage it will give America’s enemies.

But even the meager amount of funding this budget offers your Department fails to fully prioritize America’s military defense. In fact, when I read this budget, I noticed significant cuts to critical programs. And a lot of that money will instead be used to impose Green New Deal policies on our military.

President Biden’s budget would repurpose $617 million in funding towards climate resilience and energy efficiencies. These changes will undoubtedly require cuts in other areas like equipment for our military men and women, Navy warships, Air Force fighter craft, and reduce overall military procurement and resources for our troops.

To put it simply, this budget cuts America’s defense and gives massive raises to Washington bureaucrats by over spending and taxing the American people. It is clear President Biden and his Administration are out of touch with the working class.

Last month at the Naval Academy, Vice President Harris joked that servicemembers would prefer to carry solar panels than batteries – even though solar panels also require batteries to store energy.

This budget for our military is a solution in search of a problem. There will always be areas in need of improvement in our federal agencies. But blindly cutting military spending is not the way to do it. And just like the Vice President’s joke, this budget does not land well with the American people.