WASHINGTON, DC - Today, after the Trump Administration indicated it plans to submit a $603 billion defense budget request to Congress and in advance of the President’s address tonight to the joint session of Congress, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement:

“The Trump Administration has signaled its intention to submit a $603 billion defense budget request and we need to see the details.  Ultimately, there are two things that should guide our defense budget: strategy and actual need. 

“We must do everything we can to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and that starts with making smart choices about allocating resources.  Congress must consider several factors: Is the budget addressing the needs of our Armed Forces?  Does the Pentagon have the capacity to effectively spend the money?

“We also have to recognize that national security goes beyond Army brigades, Marine regiments, and the number of aircraft carriers at sea.  The State Department, Justice Department, Homeland Security, CDC, Treasury, and other federal agencies all play indispensable roles in safeguarding our nation, and if the increase in defense spending comes at the cost of domestic priorities, it could make our country less secure in the long run.  The sequester is bad for both defense and domestic priorities, and my aim is to fix them both.

“It is shortsighted to slash foreign aid and diplomacy.  Americans know it is a lot more cost-effective to clean your gutters than it is to ignore the problem until you have water coming in through the roof.  President Trump’s lack of foresight could cost Americans dearly.”