Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he thinks Congress should prioritize public health in the next economic stimulus bill to respond to the coronavirus pandemic instead of including more funds for defense, Defense News reported Wednesday.
“The defense [budget] bill last year was $738 billion. I’m not saying that there aren’t needs within the Department of Defense, I’m saying they have a lot of money and ought to spend that money to meet those needs,” Smith told reporters Wednesday during a teleconference.
His remarks come as DoD prepares its budget request in the next stimulus package. In early April, Congress approved an emergency relief measure that earmarked approximately $10.5B in funds for the Pentagon’s defense health initiatives and Tricare response efforts.