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Angus King urges Senate to pass $847 billion defense bill

Congress Electoral Votes
Mariam Zuhaib
AP file
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, speaks during a Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing to examine the Electoral Count Act, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, at the Capitol Hill in Washington.

U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine took to the Senate floor Tuesday to urge support for the Defense Authorization Act.

The current price tag is $847 billion. King said the spending is needed to maintain a credible deterrence, especially for the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

"I have many friends in Maine who come up to me and say, 'Why are we spending so much, why are we doing nuclear weapons; let's get rid of them.' The problem is aggression and evil exist in the world. Always has. As far as we can see, always will. And the best war is the one that doesn't happen," he said.

King also said the bill contains needed additional funding to help Ukraine stop Russian leader Vladimir Putin's campaign of aggression.

"Because Putin has told us who he is. He's told us that he feels the greatest tragedy of the 20th century was the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He wants to rebuild the Soviet Union; Ukraine is the first piece," he said.

King said the bill will also provide a much needed raise for U.S. troops so they can cope with inflated prices. And he said the bill is affordable because the percentage of federal spending going to defense has shrunk from 70% in 1952, to just 13% now.