WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, says defense is the No. 1 priority of the federal government.
Still, he said Tuesday he’ll be voting against the $750 billion National Defense Authorization Act, which directs how federal money should be used regarding the U.S. Department of Defense.
Braun said the federal government isn’t living within its means, and the country’s annual budget deficits are simply too high. The 2018 deficit was nearly $780 billion.
“I don’t think we can go anywhere unless we can start putting the things that are important to us on the firing line and challenge the other side to do the same,” Braun said.
When asked what he would specifically cut from the military’s budget, Braun recited what he said during his first debate for the U.S. Senate seat – “Cutting it across the board.”
He said it wouldn’t be painful for the federal government to become more financially accountable through “freezes or 1% cutbacks, like anybody else would with any other entity.”
The latest NDAA bill would provide a 3.1% raise for the military, but those would happen without the bill.
Braun’s vote will likely be only symbolic. It’s considered a “must-pass” by many, and only a handful of lawmakers typically vote against the bill each year. Both senators from Indiana voted in favor of the last two NDAAs. The NDAA has passed Congress for the last 58 years.
“If we keep defending things that are our favorite projects without taking it into the entirety, we’re not going to turn around trillion-dollar deficits,” Braun said. “We’re going to end up with a calamity, of either a debt placement crisis or we’ll start completely depleting the trust funds that are there that people have paid into for a long time.”
Braun's colleague from Indiana, Sen. Todd Young, has already said he will support the NDAA.