Congress Should Reduce Military Spending or Oppose 2023 Defense Bill

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NTU urges all Representatives and Senators to vote "NO" on the Senate amendment to H.R. 7776, the fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The FY 2023 NDAA authorizes national defense spending at $847 billion, $45 billion above the budget request for FY 2023 and a staggering $80 billion – 10.4 percent – above FY 2022 authorization levels. The military is immune to neither waste nor the misuse of funds that fiscal conservatives often critique in other parts of the federal budget, and the blockbuster increases Congress has authorized to the defense budget in the past few years are not sustainable. Lawmakers should instead do the difficult work of determining which defense programs and priorities are wasteful, duplicative, unnecessary, or outdated for our military in 2023, cut spending to those programs, and reduce the topline.

For each of the past several years, NTU has protested on behalf of the nation’s taxpayers as lawmakers green-light increase after increase to the nation’s military budget, often on a bipartisan basis and without much scrutiny from lawmakers on either side of the aisle. This year is no different, with Congress preparing to authorize a more than 10-percent increase to the defense budget for FY 2023.

Congressional leaders have decided that President Biden’s $30 billion proposed budget increase to defense was not enough and, thanks in part to policymakers’ cunning use of statutorily required “wish lists” for military programs and procurements, are asking their Members to approve an $80 billion plus-up to defense coffers. Lawmakers should reject this request.

There is no shortage of waste to cut at the Pentagon, should lawmakers begin to engage in the exercise of scrutinizing the military budget. The nation’s $1.7 trillion plane that can’t fly (the F-35), costly and troubled Littoral Combat Ship program, bureaucratic Space Force, and bloated nuclear triad are examples of budget areas that could sustain modest cuts. At minimum, Congress should be seeking to temper military spending growth in areas not severely affected by inflation such as troop pay, food, and fuel. NTU encourages lawmakers to support fiscally responsible amendments to the FY 2023 NDAA.

Roll call votes on the Senate amendment to H.R. 7776 will be significantly weighted in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.

If you have any questions, please contact NTU Director of Federal Policy Andrew Lautz at