Democrats say the plan -- which would schedule the site to be completed by 2016 -- aims to undercut President Barack Obama by making him and his party look weak on national security, The Hill reported. They argue the site will cost at least $4 billion, twice the Republican estimate.
"This is a political move," Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., said. "Every time the election comes around, the Republicans run out a national security agenda."
Garamendi and other Democrats plan to introduce amendments Wednesday to remove $100 million intended for the project's startup expenses from the defense authorization bill. The White House has taken no position on the project.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been trying to brand Obama as weak on missile defense. Republicans say the East Coast site is needed because of growing threats from Iran, North Korea and Syria.
"With these emerging threats it is inevitable that an East Coast site will be necessary in order to ensure we have the ability to lessen the threats from both Iran and North Korea," Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, chairman of the Strategic Forces subcommittee, told The Hill.