The realities of budget problems and huge Pentagon budgets appear to be lost on the House of Representatives. In a 326-90 vote, the House passed another massive military spending bill, approving another $606 billion in spending.
Budget cuts weren’t the order of the day. Indeed, some weapons programs that the Pentagon had hoped to get rid of were re-funded by the bill, and cuts in direct war spending were replaced with a massive increase to a “contingency operations” budget, to be set aside for other wars that the president might start between now and the end of Fiscal 2013.
The only spending not approved were things not proposed in the first place, bans on military aid to Iran and Syria, and barring funds from being used in relation to certain Russian companies. Perhaps the oddest move was that exactly two months after the House itself had ended the military’s NASCAR sponsorships, they decided to put them back in. It was one of the few close votes of the day, with 216 voting against keeping the ban in place and 202 wanting it to stay.
All in all the bill weighed in at several billion dollars more than the Pentagon had sought in the first place, and even further than that above the “spending cap” they were supposed to adhere to. The bill is likely to face another major battle in the Senate, though there seems to be little appetite in either house of Congress for meaningful cuts.
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