A proposal this week to modestly cut the already needlessly high and wasteful Pentagon budget failed miserably.

by William Hartung, Responsible Statecraft

Press coverage of yesterday’s passage of the Senate version of the annual Pentagon spending bill, known formally as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), has mostly focused on the looming battle over “culture war” provisions included in the House version of the bill, including measures that would constrain the Pentagon’s ability to promote diversity, fight racism in the ranks, and promote reproductive freedom and LGBTQ rights.

Meanwhile, neither chamber did much to question the Pentagon’s soaring budget, which could reach $1 trillion over the next few years if current trends continue. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would have cut the Pentagon budget by 10 percent failed by a vote of 88 to 11, suggesting that the vast majority of members are perfectly happy throwing $886 billion at the Pentagon and the Department of Energy (for nuclear weapons work), with few questions asked and few strings attached.

pentagon seen from an aerial view

The Senate vote represented a monumental failure of basic oversight that will set the stage for billions of dollars of waste even as it makes America and its allies less safe. Based on a CBS 60 Minutes investigation earlier this year and a hearing convened this week by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), routine price gouging by weapons contractors and unaccountable spending by the Pentagon are back in the spotlight.

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