US military spending bill in the dark amid debt ceiling crisis
Congress postpones discussions on the NDAA bill that determines how the American military spends its budget awaiting a resolution for the debt ceiling row.
Congressional discussions on the Pentagon's bill for the National Defense Authorization Act NDAA were put on hold amid the ongoing political row over the United State's debt ceiling fate, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Talks over the NDAA, which determines how the US military spends its almost $890 billion 2023 budget, were scheduled this week by the House of Representatives Armed Services subcommittees. But the meetings were postponed awaiting to resolve the debt ceiling partisan crisis.
US President Joe Biden met in the White House on Tuesday with congressional leaders Republican US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in attempts to reach an agreement as the default deadline in June looms in.
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The discussions did not yield any outcome, but Biden called them productive, claiming that the US will not default on its debt.
However, McCarthy did not share Biden's view on the meeting, saying it did not result in "any new movement" toward solving the matter.
McCarthy hoped that the US President "would be willing to negotiate for the next two weeks so we could actually solve this problem and not take America on the brink."
Another round of talks between the parties will be held on Friday.
“I’m hopeful that as the speaker meets with the president and the other congressional leaders on Friday that they can get some real specifics that get us closer to an agreement,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said on Wednesday.
“For now, we’re going to wait and see how that process plays out before starting the NDAA.”
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Last month, House Republicans passed a bill to raise the debt ceiling, but only if spending cuts were adopted, including on funds allocated for social programs.
The Democrats did not support the legislation and said that the Senate - where they hold the majority - will not consider it.
Republicans, however, are advocating for increasing military spending, which was highly criticized by Democrats.
“Speaker McCarthy delayed the markup of the defense bill because reality has come crashing in on this ridiculous, hypocritical fantasy,” Adam Smith, Ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
"You cannot increase the defense budget while refusing to take the steps necessary to actually raise the debt ceiling, and while proposing to make massive cuts to the discretionary budget."
The NDAA is considered one of the most important annual bills, which has been passed every year without fail for over six decades. The bill decides the military spending allocations, including that of buying fighter jets and navy vessels among other sensitive hardware to respond to the US geopolitical policies.
Read more: Debt ceiling proposal widens rift between House, Senate Democrats