Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., on Sunday said that while he's pleased with some of the spending reductions in the debt ceiling bill signed Saturday by President Joe Biden, he's concerned about the impending cuts to the nation's spending on defense spending.
"I wish it had gone further," Cotton told "Fox News Sunday." "I don't think we need to stay at post-pandemic levels of spending. We could go back to pre-pandemic levels of domestic spending. I am deeply worried about cuts to defense in this legislation."
The bill that was passed locks in Biden's defense budget for 2024 at a 3.3% increase over this year's and cuts non-defense discretionary spending to $704 billion, while allowing for 1% growth in defense and non-defense spending for the fiscal year 2025, giving the military a top line of $895 billion, according to Defense News.
But, Cotton pointed out Sunday that "when you have inflation at 5% to 6%, in reality, you have an actual cut."
And with the following year having just a 1% increase, and Biden not likely to get inflation to the 1% mark, there will be another cut in defense spending, said Cotton.
"Maybe worse of all is the way it sets up a 1% automatic spending cut across the board," he said. "The way that was written is if Congress doesn't do its work by Sept. 30, domestic spending will go up. It won't be a 1% cut from what this bill proposed. Domestic spending will go up."
That will also mean Democrats will get more domestic spending while the Pentagon is taking a "real cut" at a time when the "dangers are gathering with China, Iran, and Russia," said Cotton. "I think it is very risky to impose real cuts on the Department of Defense."
He acknowledged that there are opportunities for the Pentagon to reform its spending, particularly in the ways it procures weapons systems, but "we're talking about tens of billions at a minimum" when there is a need to deter the nation's adversaries.
Meanwhile, Cotton ridiculed the Biden administration's attempts to meet with counterpart officials, such as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's attempt to meet with his counterpart in China as "pathetic."
"The Biden administration officials should stop chasing their communist counterpart officials like lovestruck teenagers," said Cotton. "It projects weakness to China and encourages them to do things like buzz our aircraft or come within a few hundred yards of our ships, and send spy balloons floating all across America."
Reducing tariffs on China will also send that same message, said Cotton.
"The single best way to deter China, Iran, and Russia is to have a military capable of deterring them," he said.
Cotton also on Sunday criticized former President Donald Trump's decision to congratulate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on his Truth Social page about the news that North Korea had been elected to the executive board of the World Health Organization.
"The World Health Organization, like many of these international organizations, often elevates and allows dictatorial regimes to make decisions on its panels," said Cotton. "I would not congratulate Kim Jong Un or any other of these dictatorial regimes for the roles they play in these international organizations, especially like the World Health Organization that has been harmful to American interests over the last 3 years in the way they ran interference for any investigation to the origins of the Chinese coronavirus."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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