Statement of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On the Shelby, Inhofe Amendment
Providing a dollar to the Defense department for every dollar of non-defense spending is simply arbitrary, and would lead to absurd results. Under this amendment, if we pass an infrastructure bill through reconciliation providing a $2 trillion dollars to fix our roads and bridges and build out broadband, we would then have to provide $2 trillion dollars for defense, nearly tripling that budget.
I welcome a debate about the appropriate levels for defense and non-defense spending in Fiscal Year 2022, but not by creating arbitrary rules and not on this bill. The Budget Control Act expires this year, and that is a good thing. We have lost ground in education, child care, environmental protections, affordable housing, and scientific research. That is why President Biden has proposed a 16 percent increase for non-defense spending. So I welcome this debate, but this is not the place for it.
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