Turner, McCarthy: Defense budget doesn’t keep up with China

Congressman Mike Turner and Republican House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy and Congressman Brad Wenstrup toured WPAFB Friday June 11, 2021. Jim Noelker /Staff
Congressman Mike Turner and Republican House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy and Congressman Brad Wenstrup toured WPAFB Friday June 11, 2021. Jim Noelker /Staff

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner of Dayton and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy decried President Joe Biden’s defense budget Friday as not being enough to keep up with inflation or to keep up with China.

In late May, Biden released his proposed $6 trillion budget for the next fiscal year. The budget requested from Congress $715 billion for defense, representing a 1.6% increase from the enacted budget this year.

According to Turner, a 5% to 10% increase over inflation in defense spending would be more appropriate.

While Biden’s defense budget makes cuts in some areas like weapons procurement, it emphasizes spending on research and future weapons, an approach that could benefit Wright-Patterson, a hub for Air Force research.

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Turner said he and fellow Republicans will “fight to ensure that the Department of Defense gets the resources that they need.”

Turner’s remarks came at a press conference held Friday morning just outside of Wright-Patt after participating in a tour of the base with McCarthy and U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Cincinnati.

McCarthy said he is concerned by reports that China is making substantial investments in building up its military.

“I don’t think it’s a time that you want to decrease our capabilities,” McCarthy said. “I think it’s a time you want to invest in greater, especially in research and development, to ward off any threats, into the future, and keep America secure.”

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Senator for Ohio Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, responded in an email statement, “President Biden’s budget invests in our national security and in Ohio’s space and aerospace corridor.”

“This year’s defense budget request recognizes all the ways that research and development and our domestic industrial base support the critical mission at Wright-Patt, and its workers,” said Brown. ”Ohio members of both parties have a long history of working together to support the base, and I will continue to fight to make sure our military installations have the resources they need.”

Turner acknowledged that Wright-Patterson is well positioned under this budget.

“However, today’s presentation was on what our adversary is doing and that’s actual systems and systems development and we just need to be prepared to do that and this time, that budget falls short,” Turner said.

Staff Writer Thomas Gnau contributed to this report.