WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than six in 10 likely voters, including 80% of Democrats, want Congress to keep the military’s budget at the level President Joe Biden and the U.S. Defense Department requested, according to new polling released today by Data for Progress and Public Citizen. The poll is a harsh rebuke of Congress’ emerging habit of adding tens of billions of dollars to the president’s budget request.
“There is absolutely no excuse for writing the Pentagon a blank check it didn’t even ask for,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Congress should heed popular, public opinion and reject proposals for even more Pentagon spending than President Biden has requested. If the goal is to spend money to protect the public, policymakers would be much better off investing in additional COVID-19 relief, expanding health care coverage, or investing in climate resiliency than giving billions more to an agency that already gets three-quarters-of-a-trillion dollars annually and still can’t pass an audit.”
When voters were informed about how much the military is set to receive compared to other agencies, their opposition to additional funding grew. Even 51% of Republican voters said they do not think the military budget should be raised further after receiving this information.
Lawmakers are already debating the FY 23 budget after President Joe Biden requested $813 billion for defense this year – $30 billion more than the appropriated amount for FY 22. The Armed Services Committees in both chambers of Congress will consider whether to add billions more than Biden’s budget request when they mark up the National Defense Authorization Act later this month.
The survey of 1,133 likely voters was conducted from May 11-16, 2022, through a national panel of online respondents. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points.