Pentagon Operations Would be ‘Potentially Jeopardised’ Without Supplemental Funding: US Senator

Foreign Affairs

Washington: If Congress fails to pass a $105 billion supplemental national security funding bill, the chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee said he could back a fiscal 2025 defence authorisation bill that busts the $850 billion spending cap imposed by last year’s debt-ceiling agreement.

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Senator Jack Reed, said his committee would consider “all the different tools” available to potentially raise Defence Department spending past the fiscal 2025 budget request’s $849.5 billion topline if Congress did not act on a supplemental spending request, which is focused on aid for Ukraine and Israel, but which Reed said is “critical” for ensuring the US military is able to replenish munitions and artillery it has already sent to Kyiv.

“Without a supplemental, we’re in sort of unknown country because just keeping our Defence Department operating efficiently and effectively would be potentially jeopardised,” Reed said during a roundtable with reporters.

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Reed said some lawmakers fail to understand that the supplemental benefits the US military and defence industrial base “as much as the Ukrainians,” as it provides funds needed to replenish US weapons stores and allowing Ukraine to carry on a fight against Russia, a key strategic adversary for the United States.

“The vast majority of the money is going to American companies to produce American equipment that will go to our military, the newest possible equipment to replace that equipment that has been transferred to the Ukrainians,” he said.

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Reed, who visited Ukraine in February, said the Ukrainian military needs to be resupplied “immediately,” particularly with artillery shells. While Congress could provide some funding for Ukraine in the FY24 defence appropriations bill set to be released this week, Reed said it would not be sufficient to meet its long-term needs.

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“The Ukrainians have to have the confidence that they’re going to have a fairly consistent financial and military support, so they can design their strategy,” he said.

Alongside additional financial support for Ukraine, the supplemental spending bill contains military aid for Israel, including $4 billion available through September 2027 for Israel to procure more Iron Dome and David’s Sling air defence systems, as well as funds for the US submarine industrial base and security assistance in the Indo-Pacific.

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