China announced it would increase military spending by 12.2 percent this year from last, the same week the Pentagon announced its budget request for 2015 was staying flat for a third year, at $496 billion.
China announced on Wednesday it would increase military spending to almost $132 billion in 2014, a 12.2 percent increase and a higher rate of growth than in previous years, according to a report by the New York Times.
Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senators appalled by 'ridiculous' House infighting MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, Chris Christie battle over Fox News Trump's attacks on McConnell seen as prelude to 2024 White House bid MORE (R-Ariz.) raised the statistic at a hearing on the budget on Wednesday, and criticized the administration for shrinking defense budgets at a time when China was becoming more aggressive.
Meanwhile, the 2015 U.S. defense budget request would leave spending unchanged from fiscal years 2013 and 2014, and more than $30 billion below defense funding for years 2010, 2011, and 2012, according to Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinOvernight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden pays tribute to late Sen. Levin: 'Embodied the best of who we are' Former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm dead at 85 MORE (D-Mich.) at the hearing.
Lawmakers across the aisle lamented the shrinking defense budget but disagreed on how to raise it.
Administration officials pushed for lawmakers to overturn congressionally-imposed defense budget cuts known as sequestration, while Republicans pushed for the administration to lower spending on entitlements.
“Some in this town have accepted that gutting our military is necessary to rein in our growing debt. They couldn’t be more wrong," said Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate Senate GOP moving toward deal to break defense bill stalemate Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE (R-Okla.). “Defense spending isn’t what’s driving our debt crisis. Runaway entitlement spending is the real driver of our exploding national debt."