During the Bush Administration, emergency war funding measures were a common way to inflate the Pentagon’s budget, and for years officials have talked about phasing out the practice, and making it more obvious what the Pentagon is actually getting money for. Just not this year, and not next year.
The new Omnibus spending bill, with its $1.1 trillion in myriad funded, passed the House in a 219-206 vote, and as usual buried some $64 billion in discretionary military spending in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).
The OCO not only allows Congress to inflate the Pentagon budget annually, but gives the president a virtual blank check for any war he wants to start over the course of the year, since the spending can be shifted to wars that Congress isn’t officially funding yet.
Tacking on the OCO shows that real Pentagon spending is actually not decreasing markedly from the height of the Iraq occupation, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates of future Pentagon spending see it growing through the next decade.
Update: On Saturday the Senate failed to pass the bill but approved a temporary funding through Wednesday. Contact your Senators and tell them to vote against it.