White House highlights $50B for U.S. defense industry in Biden's emergency spending request

By Tony Bertuca  / October 20, 2023

President Biden, last night calling for the United States to again become the “arsenal of democracy,” is seeking more than $100 billion in emergency national security spending from Congress to mostly aid Ukraine and Israel, with the White House highlighting a $50 billion investment in the U.S. defense industrial base, including billions for new attack submarines.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters today on a phone call that the United States is facing a “global inflection point” as Russia and Hamas threaten U.S. allies and the international world order.

“I would note that this budget request also invests in America as a critical component of President Biden’s foreign policy for the middle class,” he said. “It will also allow us to have more weapons and equipment to defend America to be made in America. As the president spoke about last night, the work we’re doing to increase of military industrial base by manufacturing more artillery shells, Patriot missiles and more is supporting jobs across the country and serving the cause of freedom.”

Biden struck the same chords when he spoke last night in a nationally televised address from the White House.

“Just as in World War II, today, patriotic American workers are building the arsenal of democracy," he said. "When we use the money allocated by Congress, we use it to replenish our own stores, our own stockpile with new equipment, equipment that defends America and is made in America. Patriot missiles for air defense batteries, made in Arizona, artillery shells manufactured in 12 states across the country, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and so much more.”

The request, which also includes funding for U.S. border security and humanitarian assistance to Gaza, is set to arrive during a chaotic time on Capitol Hill as the House-led GOP remains in turmoil over its inability to elect a new speaker and as the federal government inches closer to a Nov. 17 shutdown.

Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget has released documents showing the Biden administration intends to seek about $106 billion in supplemental spending, with the largest piece, $61.4 billion, intended for Ukraine.

The aid to Kyiv includes:

- $30.0 billion for the Defense Department to provide weapons and replenishment of U.S. stocks.

- $14.4 billion for DOD to continue “other defense support” including intelligence gathering.

- $16.3 billion for the State Department and USAID for “economic, security and operational” aid.

- $481 million for the Health and Human Services Department to support Ukrainian migrants arriving in the United States.

- $149 million for the National Nuclear Security Administration for “nuclear/radiological incident response and capacity building.”

The package also includes $14.3 billion in security assistance to Israel to aid that nation in its ongoing war against Hamas following the attacks of Oct. 7.

The aid to Israel includes:

- $10.6 billion for DOD, including air and missile defense support, industrial base investments and replenishment of U.S. stocks.

- $3.7 billion for the State Department, including foreign military financing and embassy support.

The package also seeks $9.15 billion in humanitarian assistance for the State Department to aid Gaza, Ukraine and other needs.

The administration also seeks $3.4 billion for DOD to invest in the U.S. submarine industrial base, with $98 million for NNSA investments. The money would help the United States implement its AUKUS submarine agreement with Australia and the United Kingdom, according to an OMB fact sheet.

“While this funding for our submarine industrial base is necessary to meet U.S. national needs, these investments will also support U.S. commitments under AUKUS -- our trilateral security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom -- the first major deliverable of which was our historic decision to support Australia acquiring conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines,” OMB said. “Australia has also committed to provide a proportionate financial investment in the U.S. submarine industrial base to accelerate the delivery of Virginia class submarines.”

The funds would go toward “improvements and infrastructure work at the Navy’s four public shipyards and increasing production rates and submarine availability through initiatives in supplier development, shipbuilder and supplier infrastructure, workforce development, technology advancements, government oversight, and strategic sourcing,” OMB said. “This funding will accelerate build and sustainment rates for attack submarines, one of our most effective capabilities for maintaining deterrence, in order to meet U.S. military requirements.”

The supplemental request also seeks $2 billion for the State Department’s foreign military financing program to help with “Indo-Pacific Security Assistance.” OMB does not mention Taiwan specifically and Sullivan, when asked, said the aid would go toward several U.S. allies in the region.

The White House said $50 billion in the request would benefit the U.S. defense industry and American jobs.

“As we support our partners in Israel, Ukraine and across the Indo-Pacific, the Administration’s request -- including the items described above -- provides funding to ensure American military readiness by investing over $50 billion in the American defense industrial base through replenishment funding and other forms of security assistance, like foreign military financing and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative,” OMB said. “Resources for the American defense industrial base will support American jobs, increase our nation’s ability to produce critically important munitions and other equipment, and ensure our Military continues to be the most ready, capable and best equipped fighting force the world has ever seen.”