While Democrats debate the Build Back Better Act, which could materially improve millions of Americans’ lives, Republicans complain that the reconciliation bill takes priority over what they believe federal money should be used to fund: a bloated defense spending budget that funds an agency that never has passed an audit.
The National Defense Authorization Act will cost approximately $1,050,000 A staggering $778 billionFive percent more than the amount allocated for defense for this fiscal. This is a massive amount of spending that would — if held at this level over 10 years — amount to nearly 4.5 times the amount that the $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill would cost in the same amount of time. Of course, defense spending does not tend to remain static. It usually increases year after year.
Although the defense spending bill was put on hold while Democrats negotiate the reconciliation bill for the Senate, there are still four weeks on the congressional calendar. The bill will almost certainly be passed on a bipartisan basis, as it always does, except for some progressive objections. But even though there is no reason for the bill to be voted on immediately, that hasn’t stopped Senate Republicans from complaining about it being delayed.
Senator Jim Inhofe, a ranking member of Senate Armed Services Committee (Republican from Oklahoma), addressed a Republican press conference on Tuesday. said that “there’s not an answer” as to why the defense bill isn’t getting time on the Senate floor now. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) called the annual defense bill “one of the most significant pieces of legislation that we will consider this Congress.” Wicker is partially correct; the price tag of the bill is, indeed, significant. Progressives have pointed out that spending on defense is not essential and distracts from more pressing priorities.
The fact that the GOP used this minor delay to justify calling a press conference of 13 Republican senators reveals that the party is desperately clinging to controversy while Democrats debate the reconciliation bill; Inhofe went on to call the conference a “major message” to Schumer.
In reality, lawmakers’ opposition to the bloated defense spending bill is negligible, coming only from a few progressive lawmakers. The Department of Defense has no risk of running low on funds, especially given the fact that the country is already in surplus. Is supposedlyFor the first time in 20 years, we have not been involved in a war against Afghanistan.
Instead of engaging in any critical thought or analysis as to why the defense budget is so unbelievably high, North Dakota Sen. John Thune (R) criticized Democrats for their proposals to bolster social programs and tackle the climate crisis — measures that have the potential to transform millions of Americans’ lives.
Democrats “have been so preoccupied with passing their reckless tax-and-spending spree that they have overlooked and ignored some of the basic responsibilities of governing,” said Thune. It’s ironic that Thune would complain about spending in this context — first, because of how much larger the defense budget is than the Build Back Better Act’s spending portion. The $1.75 Trillion over 10 Years for social programs, which is fully offset by tax proposals, are just a fraction of the $9.1 trillionCongress approved defense for the past 10 year, adjusted to inflation.
Second, the comparison doesn’t really make sense when it comes to the use of federal dollars. Although the reconciliation bill could be used for provisions such as lowering sky-high drug pricesIn the U.S., while taking small steps to address the climate crisis, large parts of the defense budget are used. go straight toPrivate defense contractors are a lucrative business with billions of dollars in annual profits.