Congress' $886 billion Defense spending bill is $26B more than last year's, as debt climbs to $33T

The Biden Administration had requested $842 billion for the Defense Department and $44 billion for "defense-related programs" at federal agencies like the FBI

Published: July 14, 2023 6:35am

Updated: July 14, 2023 11:24am

The $886 billion defense spending bill that the GOP-led House is poised to vote on in the coming days is $26 billion more that the previous year, as the national debt climbs to $33 trillion.

The bill has received bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said before the voting that the fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act includes provisions that "counter China’s aggression, boost oversight of the Department of Defense, and support our service members and their families."

The Biden administration in early March submitted to Congress a proposed fiscal year 2024 Defense budget of $842 billion, which the Defense Department said represents an increase of $26 billion over fiscal year 2023 levels and $100 billion more than fiscal year 2022 levels.

The administration's request also included an additional $44 billion for "defense-related programs" at federal agencies such as the Energy Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

The budget contained a 5.2% pay increase for military and civilian personnel, which the department described as the highest raise in over 20 years for the military and the highest in over 40 years for civilians.

The budget also included $193 million to "ease military moves, through enhancements for lodging expenses and dislocation allowances," which would assist service members and their families in moving from different locations. 

In addition, the proposal allocated $33 million for the 50% discount that's applied to the first child of the department's child development program workers.

The House and Senate Armed Services committees each voted in June to advance the 1,200-page 2024 NDAA, which is largely consistent with Biden's request and comes in at an estimated total of $886 billion, about $44 billion more than the administration requested.

At $886 billion, the defense budget is teetering on carrying a $1 trillion price tag in the coming years if Congress continues to increase the budget year after year. The total national debt is currently at a record $32.4 trillion.

The House early Thursday passed several amendments to the bill, including banning the Pentagon from covering travel costs for out-of-state abortions and prohibiting medical procedures for openly transgender service members. However, an amendment by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to strike $300 million in funding failed. 

Still, the Democrat-led Senate will almost certainly oppose the two Pentagon cuts. 

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