House Passes Two-Year Budget Agreement, Authorizes More Debt

$1.48 trillion increases military spending beyond House NDAA

In a 284-149 vote, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan debt and budget bill intended to cover the next two years, and prevent shutdowns. The $2.78 trillion ($1.48 trillion military spending) measure lifts the cap on the size of the US debt.

Since the expansion of the debt amounts to spending more money that the government flat out doesn’t have, this legislation also authorizes the Treasury Department to issue more debt in the form of bonds to raise money to cover the difference.

The bill formalizes a compromise reached between President Trump and the House Democratic leadership. The bill was supported heavily by Democrats, while what opposition it did face was mostly Republican lawmakers who oppose allowing the debt to rise even further.

The $1.48 trillion will be military spending for the next two years. This is an increase over the existing NDAA for 2020 already passed by the House. Reconciling the House and Senate versions of the NDAA is still to be accomplished, and is expected to be the next thing the House tackles.

The entire $2.78 trillion deal encompasses all spending for the next two years, and while Democrats are bragging about increases in non-military spending as well, many are noting that the $1.48 trillion in military spending is a fair bit more than half, meaning the US will be spending more on the military in 2020-2021 than everything else combined.

While Republican hawks broadly voted in favor of this bill, because it was a spending increase, and as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that’s the “number one priority” for Republicans. Even then, a number of them were grousing about the fact that the spending on the military could’ve conceivably been even higher.

Trump was quick to cheer the legislation as a victory, and urged all Republicans to vote for it, Senate leaders are also supporting the plan on the general idea that it will increase spending and not threaten a shutdown.

While a lot of those who are concerned by the budget deficit were critical of the move to effectively ignore the growing debt for two more years, the reality is that every time military spending has come up against budget restrictions and the debt, a loophole has been found, and military spending increases.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.