If you have heard it before, please stop me: Congress reached a bipartisan agreement on increasing spending across all levels.
On Wednesday, lawmakers unveiled a spending package worth $1.5 trillion that would fund the federal government through the end fiscal year. It included spending increases on almost everything and a spending freeze. This plan would “substantially increase funding for the military, nearly all non-defense agencies and grow domestic spending.” To $730 billion is almost seven percent more than current funding. It would increase the national defense budget to $782 Billion, which is a 6 percent increase. Politico reports.
The 2,700-page bill also includes $14 billion in “emergency funding” to help Ukraine, including $3.5 billion for new military equipment to be sent to Ukraine—because apparently the Pentagon’s $782 billion budget isn’t big enough to include that—and another $15 billion in COVID-19 relief funds.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D–Vt.) Senator Patrick Leahy (D.Vt.), praised the deal as “the largest increase of non-defense discretionary spend in four years.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Shelby (R–Ala.The top Republican in the Senate Appropriations Committee was Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. He praised the package’s inclusion of “dollar for dollar parity” for both defense and nondefense increases. Additionally, the bill effectively addressed Republican priorities.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which reported yesterday that the deficit for the Federal Government was $475 billion in the five first months of Fiscal Year 1, which started October, to be exact. This is an average daily deficit of $3 billion. While it is true that the deficit for this year will not be as high as the previous two, CBO projections still show a persistently high level of deficits over the next decade.
That projection, of course, is based on current law—in other words, it does not take into account additional spending like what’s contained in the new budget agreement. Hiking will increase future deficits, and only add to the national debt of $30 trillion.
These issues will not be discussed in depth before the bill becomes law. CBS News reports that party leaders had hoped to get the 2,741-page bill through both the House and Senate on Wednesday. However, the exact time was not known by CBS News. The urgency to help Ukraine was what prompted lawmakers.
Yes, there’s nothing like a war—even one that the U.S. is not directly fighting—to get lawmakers to spend like there’s no tomorrow.
It is a national security problem that the federal government cannot balance. Any dollar required to repay the interest on the national debt is an additional dollar that won’t allow for funding domestic or military spending in the future. Inflation that is higher than expected makes this calculation more worrying. Higher interest rates are likely to drive up interest rates, which will lead to higher national debt service costs.
A bipartisan group pushed their lawmakers to address this issue. The bipartisan group of lawmakers requested the creation, in the federal funding bill, of a committee to examine deficit-reduction strategies. “We owe it to our children,” the lawmakers wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.”To recognize our nation’s inexorable fiscal trajectory, and work together across the aisle to rectify it over time,”
These provisions were not included in the Wednesday morning text. It’s not surprising, though. There are only two things Congress agrees on: spending more money, and not paying attention to the consequences. Both of those points are met by the latest deal.