The Obama administration will release its final budget request this morning, the Pentagon’s portion of which comes to around 583 billion—with $524 billion for the base budget and $59 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) spending. That amount does not include the rest of spending on budget function 050—total national defense—which includes money for Department of Energy nuclear weapons programs and defense-related spending in other agencies. During Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s tour to “preview” the request last week, congressional hawks went on the offensive against what they see as insufficient spending.

According to Politico, Senator John McCain called for Congress to “repeal sequestration.” McCain’s “amigo,” Senator Lindsey Graham, complained that the defense budget was headed downward as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP)—reaching 2.5 percent by 2021. And Texas Representative Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called for a base budget of $573 billion to go along with the existing OCO request of $59 billion.

McCain’s suggestion that Congress repeal “sequestration” is part of an ongoing scare tactic the Senate Armed Services Committee and other advocates of increased defense spending have used to suggest the military is facing across-the-board cuts to the defense budget. As Todd Harrison, budget director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, explained in a recent blog post:

[S]equestration has a specific meaning. It is the automatic process of cutting the budget if Congress appropriates more than the BCA budget caps allow. To be clear, sequestration and the budget caps are not the same thing. The budget caps set an upper limit to how much funding Congress can appropriate, and sequestration is the enforcement mechanism in case Congress exceeds those limits.

The Arizona senator is specifically using sequestration in place of the budget caps to allude to a “mindless” process of budget cutting rather than an upper limit under which Pentagon funding can be shifted to fund different priorities.

Graham’s complaint about the percentage of GDP dedicated to defense is part of an odd Republican obsession with the size of the economy to which the Pentagon is entitled. As I have written elsewhere, measuring defense spending as a percentage of GDP says nothing about how much is actually spent on the military at any given time. In a recent paper for the National Taxpayers Union, I noted that if the economy grows at a faster rate than defense spending increases in inflation-adjusted terms, the latter will account for a smaller portion of the former. Of course, if Senator Graham is really interested in seeing the defense budget increase as a percentage of GDP, he can always hold out hope for a major economic collapse. Even if the defense budget remains static, its percentage of GDP will trend in the direction Graham prefers if the economy shrinks.

While neither McCain’s, nor Graham’s, arguments cited in Politico make much sense logically or represent much in the way of substance, they do have rhetorical appeal. The House Armed Services Committee chairman, on the other hand, might have hit on a mechanism to get the increased defense spending all three desire.

Thornberry’s call for increasing the base defense budget by another almost $50 billion probably does not have much chance of success, but he and his colleagues will find help in their push for some additional funding in the form of the military services’ “unfunded priorities lists”—the lists of items the services want but did not make it into the budget request. Though an “unfunded priority” might seem like an oxymoron, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s revival of the lists has given lawmakers an added instrument for pursuing parochial interests at the expense of American taxpayers. As Politico’s Connor O’Brien noted in his story on Carter’s budget preview, “Several big ticket items from last year’s wish lists were included in the final fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, including six additional F-35B fighters for the Marine Corps totaling $846 million.” And O’Brien quoted an anonymous House Armed Services Committee aid that said the lists would inform congressional decision-making.

Unfortunately, McCain, Graham, and Thornberry are the ones making the most noise about the size of the budget. It is unclear whether the White House or congressional Democrats will be willing to hold the line at the currently requested level in the face of concerted Republican opposition. It is an election year, and while foreign policy and national security rarely play a significant role in elections—especially congressional elections—there has been an uptick in voter interest this cycle due to the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. Democrats might be more eager to seek an accommodation that gets at least some increase in the caps on domestic spending in return for agreeing to raise the defense caps or to plunge more money into OCO. Left holding the line then will be Republican budget hawks—though it remains to be seen how much influence they hold under the speakership of Paul Ryan, or whether congressional leaders will let themselves get sucked into a budget brinksmanship game.