Lawmakers are planning to dodge caps on the Pentagon budget by adding billions for the military in ‘emergency’ legislation.

by Connor Echols, Responsible Statecraft

Following weeks of acrimonious debate in Congress, President Joe Biden signed into law on Friday a bill that suspends the debt ceiling until 2025. The compromise deal caps spending on a range of programs and risks throwing as many as 750,000 adults off of food stamps, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

One agency — the Department of Defense — managed to evade cuts completely. Despite making up the majority of federal discretionary spending, the Pentagon will lock in a roughly 3 percent boost over last year’s budget, bringing the total defense budget to $886 billion for 2024.

tanks in a line with Ukrainian flags mounted on them

As David Dayen of the American Prospect recently noted, there is one path that would lead to defense cuts. The deal includes a provision that would force a 1 percent haircut to all discretionary spending if Congress fails to pass any of its 12 annual appropriations bills by January 1, 2024.

But, Pentagon budget watchers argue, the more likely scenario is that lawmakers will take advantage of spending tricks to keep military funding increasing to historic highs.

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