Secretive Congressional Talks Aim to Settle Pentagon Spending

Military Spending Bill Already Passed, But Money Isn't There

The Senate broke a lot of its own rules to cram through the massive military spending bill a few weeks ago, authorizing $607 billion in spending, $520.5 billion in general spending and another $87 billion for the Afghan occupation.

Officials are used to the idea to pushing through whatever they want for appropriations bill, but secretive talks have been ongoing with both House and Senate defense appropriators trying to sort out a problem: they don’t have that $520.5 billion.

It’s more like $490 billion, according to preliminary reports, and that’s fueling a lot of talk about where they’re going to make cuts, and a lot of determination to keep the details from going public before the backroom deal is finished.

Pensions are likely safe, at least for the top military brass. While the initial budget deal cut the pensions of rank-and-file soldiers, the much juicier retirement benefits for generals and admirals remain in place and are believed to be untouchable.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of