In an overwhelming 375-34 vote, the House of Representatives today passed a massive $611 new military spending bill. Though presented as the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017, the bill is only a portion of what the US will ultimately spend on the military in fiscal 2017.
The bill includes bans on any closure of any military bases by the Pentagon, once again rejecting calls by the military leadership to get rid of costly, unwanted bases, and also forbids the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. It also forbids the Pentagon from going through with a plan to reduce the number of active duty soldiers,
Despite being far more money than the Pentagon and the administration sought, and despite being several times more than any other nation spends on their own military in a year, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R – TX), the Armed Services chair complained that the bill was much too small, and expressed hope that President-elect Donald Trump would push through another major spending bill in the early part of 2017.
Subsequent spending bills were expected at any rate, with the current spending caps theoretically limiting just how out of control the spending can get in an individual bill, and Congress having already decided to circumvent that cap by funding the wars only for a fraction of the year, necessitating an “emergency” supplement be passed to continue wars that no one in this administration or the next has any intention of ending.
The bill still has to pass the Senate, which it is expected to do early next week. With the removal of controversial riders authorizing military contractors to discriminate against gays and requiring women to register for the draft, the bill is expected to pass the Senate easily, as someone the unsustainable military spending itself is considered completely non-controversial.