Though they’re still determined to spin it as a cut since it’s slightly below their most ambitious requests, the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill amounts to a major “win” for the Pentagon and a grave defeat for those who sought to see sequestration applied to military spending.
The bill overturns sequestration cuts and includes $20 billion above the initial sequestration deal, as well as $90 billion in emergency war funding, which was actually more than even the Pentagon sought.
That war funding is a big deal, the first time the number has increased year-over-year since 2010. President Obama initially campaigned on ending the use of “emergency” war funding as separate from the rest of the military’s funding, and all of his early budget plans assumed phasing it out.
Using a special “war-funding” section is a way to mask the bloat of military spending to some extent, with the unspoken implication that the funding is temporary and will end when the war does. Since the war seems no closer to ending than it was 10 years ago, that argument now seems totally irrelevant, and war funding is little more than accounting trickery to disguise the reality that US military spending remains grossly out of step with its finances.