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Senate Defense Panel Faces Uphill Battle in Ditching Debt Ceiling Caps

May 9, 2024

Bryant Harris

Defense One

Committee Chairman Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) (L) confers with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) after a panel testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on China’s high altitude balloon surveillance efforts against the United States February 9, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By Bryant Harris, May 8, 2024 / Defense One

The bipartisan duo leading the Senate defense spending panel faces an uphill battle in their bid to increase the fiscal 2025 military budget beyond the $895 billion cap imposed by last year’s debt ceiling deal.

Senate defense appropriations Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., and the top Republican appropriator, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, made the case for a higher FY25 defense top line during a Wednesday hearing with Gen. CQ Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“If we’re going to invest in future technologies, this number has to be bigger,” said Tester. “The military services and combatant commands are telling us they’re having unfunded priorities in excess of $20 billion. The price of fuel is much higher. Our military is engaged in operations around the world.”

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