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Senate GOP slams Biden defense budget

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Trump signals he's ready to get back in the game Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization MORE (R-Ky.) and other top Republicans are blasting President BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE’s defense budget for proposing a modest increase in military spending in contrast to the 16 percent increase the president has proposed for nondefense programs.

McConnell along with Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeInhofe tells EPA nominee he'll talk to her 'daddy' if she does not 'behave' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate nixes Trump rule limiting methane regulation | Senate confirms EPA chief: Biden's climate goals are 'an opportunity to lead' | Fine-particle pollution disproportionately hurts people of color: research EPA chief: Biden's climate goals are 'an opportunity to lead' MORE (R-Okla.), Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio wants 'UFO sightings' to be registered, taken seriously Strange bedfellows: UFOs are uniting Trump's fiercest critics, loyalists Second suspected 'Havana Syndrome' case near White House under investigation: report MORE (R-Fla.) and other GOP lawmakers accused Biden of prioritizing “liberal wish list priorities” while “funding for America’s military is neglected.”

The Republican senators warned that Biden’s defense budget won’t keep pace with China's as it “aspires to overtake America as the world’s dominant superpower.”

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“Over the past decade, China’s defense spending has increased by $200 billion while America’s decreased by $400 billion. China’s military investments match its desire to out-compete America and hold our military forces at risk,” they wrote. “President Biden’s defense spending cut doesn’t even keep up with inflation.”

Biden has proposed a hearty 16 percent increase in nondefense spending by mapping out a $769 billion nondefense budget that represents a $105 billion increase over current levels.

He would increase the defense budget 1.7 percent to $753 billion, an increase of $12.3 billion.

“If President Biden’s support for America’s military matched his zeal for spending at home, China would get nowhere close to overtaking us,” the Republican senators wrote. “President Biden’s budget proposal cuts defense spending, sending a terrible signal not only to our adversaries in Beijing and Moscow, but also to our allies and partners.”

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: 'I accept the results of the election' Juan Williams: The GOP's losing bet on Trump Pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood causes headache for GOP in key S.C. race MORE (S.C.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, and Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Biden officials testify that white supremacists are greatest domestic security threat Republicans embrace Trump in effort to reclaim Senate MORE (Ala.), the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, also signed the letter.

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Senate Republican aides have warned that if Biden’s defense spending proposal fell short of what Republicans wanted, it would imperil the chances of passing a bipartisan bill to improve U.S. competitiveness with China and address what some policymakers see as a growing economic and military threat.

The GOP senators on Friday said any bipartisan legislation addressing China that Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Pro-tax millionaires protesting in front of Bezos's homes Student debt cancellation advocates encouraged by Biden, others remain skeptical MORE (D-N.Y.) wants to bring to the floor will be undercut by Biden’s defense proposal.

“We're ready to work through regular order to develop additional bipartisan legislation to address China. But that process can't work if the administration insists on budget cuts for the most important tool in our toolbox,” the senators wrote.

At the same time, liberals in both chambers are raising red flags over what they see as too much defense spending in the Biden budget.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Sunrise Movement endorses Nina Turner in special election for Ohio House seat The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Israel-Hamas carnage worsens; Dems face SALT dilemma MORE (I-Vt.) said Friday he has “serious concerns” about the $753 billion request for what he called “the bloated Pentagon.”

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“At a time when the U.S. already spends more on the military than the next 12 nations combined, it is time for us to take a serious look at the massive cost overruns, the waste and fraud that currently exist at the Pentagon,” he said in a statement.

In the House, liberal Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanProgressives divided over efforts to repeal SALT cap Left feels empowered after Biden backtracks on refugees NIH reverses Trump administration's ban on fetal tissue research MORE (D-Wis.) said the $12.3 billion defense spending increase is “far too much” given how much the Pentagon’s budget has grown in recent years.

In a statement, he argued that increased spending on the Pentagon "takes away from funding that could be spent on other people-centric policies, like health care, education and housing.”