Top U.S. Senate Republican calls on Biden for 5% increase in military spending

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks back to his office at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 17, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday that President Joe Biden's next budget request must include at least a 5% increase in defense spending above inflation, to counter what he called longer-term threats to U.S. interests posed by Russia and China.

McConnell said in a floor speech that ramped up military spending must follow recent sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine to ensure the United States can counter advancements in Russian and Chinese weaponry that he said were intended to keep U.S. forces away from troubled regions.

"It is this president's job to seriously meet the growing threats posed by Russia and China,” McConnell said in a floor speech.

"President Biden must lead by example. The president's next budget request must include at least a 5% increase in defense spending above inflation. Russia and China have prioritized military modernization literally for decades," he said. "We are actually behind."

Reporting by David Morgan Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan OatisYeah.T

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