A Virginia House Democrat slammed President Joe Biden's defense budget, arguing it leaves the United States unprepared for a conflict with China.
"I have delayed putting out a statement about the Defense Budget because frankly it would have been mostly full of words you might expect from a Sailor, but here goes: It sucks," Rep. Elaine Luria, vice chair of the House Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday.
Luria accused the administration of pursuing a "divest-to-invest strategy" on defense that involves the decommissioning of recently constructed ships and assumes the country will not see a major conflict for at least two decades.
"The Navy owes a public apology to American taxpayers for wasting tens of billions of dollars on ships they now say serve no purpose," Luria said. "They propose decommissioning 24 ships; 11 of which are less than 10 years old. One has been in service less than two years and two are currently in modernization. All to save… 0.5 percent of their budget."
Luria said the administration's budget will leave the U.S. Navy vulnerable in the face of China's ambitious buildup of its own navy.
"China is not a ‘pacing challenge' when they will soon have double the size of our Navy," Luria said. "The Navy has no strategy. Stop saying you do, because if you did you would be able to explain how this Fleet size will allow us to defend Taiwan."
Biden released his $813 billion defense budget proposal for the 2023 fiscal year on Monday. Republican leaders on Capitol Hill were quick to criticize the plan as insufficient, with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) saying it "falls woefully short on defense spending."
Progressive Democratic lawmakers, however, expressed disappointment in the budget for investing too much in defense.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) told the Daily Beast the budget is a "mistake," saying there's "so much investment in overcompensating on an optic that we're actually participating in doing harm."