Giving the Pentagon billions of additional dollars it never requested
Congress can’t help itself when it comes to spending, and that’s long been true of spending on the Department of Defense.
The DoD was initially scheduled for a very modest spending hike next year of roughly 1.6 percent. Instead, Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, plan to spend much more than the president asked for. According to the R Street Institute’s Jonathan Bydlak:
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, the bill that sets the annual spending level for the Pentagon, has been winding its way through Congress, and recently was advanced by the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). During that committee debate, an amendment introduced by Alabama congressman Mike Rogers proposed to increase top-line spending by nearly $25 billion. That amendment passed 42-17, with the support of nearly half of committee Democrats in addition to all 28 Republicans.
The recent increase comes on the heels of a lopsided Senate vote in July to boost the Pentagon budget by another $25 billion to satisfy defense secretary Lloyd Austin’s ‘wish list’ items that weren’t funded by the last NDAA. While Rogers’s amendment must still be approved by appropriators, it is just the latest example of Congress giving the Pentagon more money than the President — and sometimes even the Pentagon itself — requests.
Considering the Afghan War has ended, one might expect the Defense budget to narrow, even a little. But not in Washington. The defense budget has long been a favorite place to add money for projects that may have something to do with defense, but are more likely intended to boost the re-election prospects of members of Congress.