Increasing defense spending by almost 5 percent to $750 billion in fiscal 2020 likely is not realistic, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, said following news reports that President Trump has reversed course and now plans to boost his budget request for national security. “It seems hard for me to imagine that we’re going to be able to get to a $750 billion defense budget in a fiscally responsible way that balances out … all the priorities of the country,” Smith, who is expected to lead the committee next year, told Politico. “But I will wait to see that argument,” he said. The Pentagon had begun crafting a $700 billion proposal at Trump’ request, which would have represented a 2 percent cut from this year’s $716 billion allocation for DOD and other components of national security.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the higher budget request doesn’t help resolve the question as to how Congress will deal with the statutory spending cap for FY 2020. “It’s not a coherent, comprehensive approach to the budget problems,” Reed said, reported Defense News. “It’s a number here, a number there. It doesn’t deal with the underlying issue, which is sequestration, how do you relieve it for defense and nondefense, how do you fund the State Department if you’re only funding DOD and nothing else,” he said.