New Budget Deal Based on Gimmicks

October 27, 2015

Amanda Waldron
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Washington, DC–Yesterday, congressional leaders announced a two-year budget deal to increase discretionary spending caps for defense and non-defense spending for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017. The bill also suspends the debt limit until March 15, 2017.

The deal raises the defense spending caps by $25 billion for Fiscal Year 2016, and $15 billion for Fiscal Year 2017. It also provides $58.8 billion for the Pentagon portion of the Overseas Contingency Operations account, an account that has become a Pentagon slush fund and is not subject to the budget caps.

Lt. General Robert Gard, Center Board Member, said of the budget deal:

“More money for the Pentagon does not necessarily mean more safety for the American people. This budget deal continues to use OCO as a slush fund to circumvent already generous spending caps. Budget gimmicks like this allow the Pentagon and Congress to avoid prioritizing defense programs based on security requirements consistent with approved strategy. It is an irresponsible waste of taxpayer money that would be better allocated to non-military programs that enhance our security.”

John Isaacs, Senior Fellow at Council and Center, said of the bill:

“The ability of congressional leaders to reach any deal in this time of partisan gridlock is commendable. But, Congress is gaming the system by throwing billions of dollars that belong in the base budget into OCO. Furthermore, the deal permits the Pentagon to continue excessive spending on ineffective and unnecessary programs.”
The House and Senate are likely to vote on the bill by November 3, the day the national debt ceiling expires.
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