War Spending

Analysis: What Matters Most in the NDAA
Obscurities and omissions define this year’s defense authorization bill

In this year’s NDAA, House Armed Services Mac Thornberry has required cuts to agencies that handle logistics, human resources and services contracting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The massive defense authorization bill approved by the House Armed Services panel early Thursday morning is a consequential measure — but not for the reasons most people think.

The $708.1 billion bill, which the House plans to debate the week of May 21, would endorse the largest budget for defense since World War II, adjusting for inflation and when war spending is taken out of the equation.

Budget Watchdog Sees $2 Trillion Deficits Within 10 Years

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing titled “Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy” in Rayburn Building on February 27, 2018. Behind him is a debt clock, which each federal deficit cycle adds to. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The federal deficit could hit $1.1 trillion next year and $1.7 trillion in fiscal 2028, piling on debt that exceeds the size of the economy by the end of the decade, according to a Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget report released Friday.

If Congress extends individual tax cuts beyond their scheduled expiration and continues to raise discretionary spending levels above statutory caps, the debt will grow even faster, reaching $33 trillion or 113 percent of gross domestic product by fiscal 2028, the CRFB analysis said. Under that scenario, annual deficits would top $2 trillion within 10 years.

Defense to Get Historically High Share of Research Budget
Congress likely to resist cuts to nondefense R&D programs

The Pentagon and related security agencies would see big boosts in research and development funding under the proposed fiscal 2018 budget from the administration . (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Pentagon and other security agencies’ outsize consumption of federal research money would grow further under Republican plans, while nondefense research spending would drop, sometimes dramatically, a new congressional report shows.

The Defense Department’s research and development budget would consume 56 percent of the federal R&D total in President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal, according to the Congressional Research Service report. That’s an 18 percent increase above the fiscal 2016 enacted level. When military research at the National Nuclear Security Administration and other agencies is included, the defense share of the federal research budget is closer to 61 percent.