While social spending is pared back, Congress passes the largest defense budget since WWII without much of a debate. Why are Democrats doing this?

By Fred Kaplan, Slate

By an overwhelming margin, the House passed a bill to spend $778 billion on defense next year, $25 billion more than what President Joe Biden had requested. The Senate is expected to second the motion within days.

The sum—a five percent increase over last year’s defense bill—amounts to the nation’s largest military-spending bill since World War II, even adjusting for inflation.

Military defense
Photo by The U.S. National Archives

Yet no officials or lawmakers have spelled out why the budget—which includes $740 billion for the Pentagon and $28 billion for the Energy Department’s nuclear-weapons programs—needs to be quite this huge. (Another $10 billion is for defense-related activities by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, and a few other agencie).

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