The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee slammed the Biden administration for its delay in providing Congress a defense budget plan.
Rep. Adam Smith (D., Wash.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said the Biden administration is "dragging their feet" in delivering the defense budget to Congress at a Reagan Foundation event on Tuesday. Smith also said the White House has ignored his own calls for the administration to move forward on the budget.
"I am deeply concerned about the Biden administration dragging their feet on getting us the damn budget," Smith said. "The White House itself is not doing the job they should be doing…. I can’t get the White House to take my calls on this one."
Biden administration officials have signaled that the budget could reach Congress by early May. A controversial domestic agenda, which includes environmental spending, infrastructure legislation, and coronavirus relief, may complicate the timeline for a ready defense budget.
The Biden administration announced last week its budget request would call for $715 billion in defense spending, a 0.4 percent drop, accounting for inflation, from the 2021 budget. Congressional Republicans blasted the prospect of a shrinking or limited budget as a "gift" to adversaries such as China and Russia, as fewer defense dollars may prevent the Pentagon from tackling its goals of readying the armed forces and developing crucial technologies.