Top Senate appropriators urge strong response to spy balloons – JP
Key appropriators who oversee the Pentagon’s budget urged the Biden administration on Tuesday to take more “decisive” action to address threats like the Chinese surveillance balloon that traversed the country earlier this month.
In a bipartisan letter to the White House obtained by CQ JP, Senate Defense Appropriations Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., and ranking member Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the U.S. needs to ramp up its capabilities to combat similar incursions.
“We remain deeply concerned by these violations of United States sovereignty, and it is clear more needs to be done to address these situations,” Tester and Collins wrote.
The balloon, which had hovered over sensitive military sites in Tester’s home state, crossed the continental U.S. before being shot down by F-22 fighter jets off the coast of South Carolina. Its discovery and subsequent downing worsened already bad tensions with China and prompted widespread congressional calls for greater action to combat Chinese threats.
While most Democrats defended President Joe Biden’s decision to take down the balloon over water, where falling debris could not harm people and property on the ground, Tester joined Republicans in condemning Biden’s actions.