Reid: GOP wants to 'pave the way' for extra defense spending

Cameron Lancaster
Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBlack Caucus demands Flint funding from GOP Report: Intelligence officials probing Trump adviser's ties to Russia White House preps agencies for possible shutdown MORE (D-Nev.) is accusing Republicans of trying to boost defense spending above funding levels set by a two-year budget deal.
 
"Now my friend the Republican leader is obviously trying to pave the way to increase defense funding and go against the middle class," he said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump slams Obama for ‘shameful’ 9/11 bill veto GOP chairman lobbies against overriding Obama on 9/11 bill Black Caucus demands Flint funding from GOP MORE (R-Ky.). 
 
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Reid's comments follow calls from defense hawks for billions of dollars in new military spending. Sen. John McCainJohn McCainTrump's new debate challenge: Silence Senate rivals gear up for debates McCain opponent releases new ad hitting his record MORE (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has said he wants at least an extra $17 billion. 
 
McConnell on Thursday morning didn't specifically endorse exceeding defense-spending levels included in the two-year deal reached last year. Noting the current challenges the U.S. military faces, he suggested that the Senate could pass an annual defense policy bill "at levels that allow us to modernize the force and execute current operations."
 
"With sustained bipartisan cooperation, we can pass defense appropriations at adequate levels to train and equip and sustain the best military," he added.
 
McConnell was asked Tuesday about the infighting among House Republicans on the budget but declined to weigh in, saying that Senate Republicans "are as well discussing the way forward on a budget."
 
Reid, however, suggested earlier this week that walking away from the two-year budget deal would risk a government shutdown. 
 
"I don't think they want to close government again. The law is in effect. And we're going to stick with what we did last December," he told reporters Tuesday when asked about the additional defense spending.