President Joe Biden on Monday responded to Republican criticism of defense spending included in the deal he reached with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over the weekend to avoid a potentially catastrophic default on the nation’s debt.
Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he left for Delaware, Biden brushed off concerns and suggested that if more defense spending were needed, he had “no doubt” there would be bipartisan approval.
“Look, whatever the fighting force needs, if there’s anything else – first of all, they passed my budget. What I asked for in defense, they passed it. It’s clear that if there’s any need for additional funding, I have no doubt that we’ll get it because we’re going to do it together,” Biden said when asked about the Republicans’ complaints.
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Biden’s comments come as Republican rhetoric continues to heat up over concerns about the defense budget included in the deal. Earlier on Monday, Sen. Lindsey GrahamRS.C., vowed he would do everything in his power to “undo” the bipartisan debt ceiling bill and the “disaster” he said it would be for America’s defense.
“I will use all the power at my disposal in the Senate to have amendment votes to reverse this disaster for defense,” Graham wrote. on Twitter. “I support raising the debt limit for 90 days to give us a chance to correct this defense disaster.”
“There is total outrage at the decision of political leaders to make it even remotely possible to consume our national security apparatus during a major disaster. Take this stupid idea off the table,” he added.
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Biden and McCarthy an agreement was reached on the debt ceiling late Sunday, days ahead of the expected June 5 deadline to avoid a debt default. They released the House version of the bill later in the evening.
The deal includes a 3% increase in defense spending next year, lower than the current one annual inflation rate more than 4%. It would also keep nondefense spending roughly flat through the 2024 fiscal year and increase it by 1% the following year, as well as provide a 2-year increase in the debt limit.
The House Rules Committee will meet at 3 pm on Tuesday to prepare the debt ceiling bill for debate on the floor Wednesday.
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Danielle Wallace, Chad Pergram and Bradford Betz of Fox News contributed to this report.