Lindsey Graham Rages Against Debt Deal, Warns Cuts Could ‘Cripple the Military’


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) joined Shannon Bream on Fox News Sunday to discuss his recent trip to Ukraine but first was asked to weigh in on the recent debt ceiling negotiations in Washington, DC. Graham, who was in London after reassuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Republicans in Congress continue to support his war effort, argued that while he wants to raise the debt ceiling, he opposed capping defense spending and went so far as to warn the deal could “cripple” the U.S. military.

“I want to talk about your reaction to the budget deal as we now understand it, because based on your tweets, you do not think that the defense spending part of this is a good deal because it essentially gives the president what he was asking for in his budget when it comes to defense spending,” Bream began.

“You know, number one. I respect Kevin McCarthy. I want to raise the debt ceiling. It’d be irresponsible not to do it. I want to control spending. I’d like to have a smaller IRS. I’d like to claw back the unused Covid money. And I know you can’t get the perfect…” Graham replied, adding:

But what I will not do is adopt the Biden defense budget and call it a success. Kevin said that the defense is fully funded. If we adopt the Biden defense budget, it increases defense spending below inflation. A 3.2% increase in defense is below inflation. The Biden defense budget takes the Navy from 298 ships to 291. At a time when China is going to increase their navy by almost a third.

So, the Biden defense budget was a joke before. And if we adopt it as Republicans, we will be doing a great disservice to the party of Ronald Reagan. The biggest winner of the Biden defense budget is China, because they’ll have a bigger navy and it will be Putin. There’s nothing in the budget for Biden to help Ukraine win a war that they’re on the verge of driving the Russians out. So I like Kevin a lot, but don’t tell me that the Biden defense budget fully funds to military.

We have attacked it for a year as Republicans because it takes the Navy in decline at a time we need a larger Navy to contain China. The overmatch with China is real. The Biden defense budget makes it even worse for us. So I look forward to the details. But if you send me the Biden defense budget to the United States Senate and declare it fully funds the military, you will have a hard time with me.

“I like that you edited yourself for Sunday television. I could see where you’re going there. But does that mean that you would be a ‘no’? Because you obviously sound very concerned about the default the default portion of this. Would you be a ‘no’ overall?” Bream followed up.

“I am not going to do a deal that marginally reduces the number of IRS agents in the future at the expense of sinking the Navy,” Graham replied passionately, adding:

The Biden defense budget takes the Navy from 298 to 291 ships. The Navy suggests that we need 373 ships to deal with the threats we face as a nation. How do you get the 373 ships if you’re spending below inflation? That’s just the Navy. The Air Force is in the same world. Listen, this is sequestration, potentially, 2.0. In 2011, my good friend Mitch McConnell negotiated the deal with Joe Biden that virtually destroyed the Defense Department in the name of raising the debt ceiling.

If this is another round of sequestration, not only will I vote no, I will not be intimidated by June 5th. This is Memorial Day weekend. We’re celebrating those who died for our country. I am a Republican from the Reagan camp. Ronald Reagan would not do this to our military. The defense team of Joe Biden. I’ve lost faith in a long time ago. I’ve been making light of the Biden budget as being inadequate a win for China. And if you ask me now to swallow it because of the debt ceiling, you can forget it. The number one job of every member of Congress should be to defend the nation. And the Biden defense budget does not do it. Kevin has a hard job. I like him a lot, but my good friend John McCain voted for sequestration in 2011, thinking we would never do the cuts that we actually did. Two years later, he says it’s worst vote he ever made.

“We’re doing the same thing all over again in the name of raising the debt ceiling. We should raise the debt ceiling, but we should not cripple the military’s ability to defend the nation as a tradeoff. Spending below inflation is not fully funding the military. Cutting the size of the Navy only helps China,” Graham concluded.

Watch the full clip above via Fox News.

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Alex Griffing is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Send tips via email: Follow him on Twitter: @alexgriffing