Democrats Are Making a Devil’s Bargain on Pentagon Funding. It’s Not Paying Off.

NPP Pressroom

Lindsay Koshgarian

The year 2022 confirmed yet again that accepting massive military budget increases in exchange for a smattering of social benefits funding — a common devil’s bargain struck by Democrats in Congress — will never deliver the kind of world we dream of.

The military budget deal just reached by Congress will put Pentagon spending at $858 billion — more than $118 billion higher than when President Biden came into office, and more than $180 billion higher than the last budget approved under President Obama. That increase would have been more than enough to cover the costs of the entire Build Back Better agenda.

By comparison with the ever-growing Pentagon budget, wins on big progressive spending priorities in the last two years have been hit or miss, with plenty of notable misses. Political fortunes for the successful Inflation Reduction Act and the failed Build Back Better plan were widely understood to rest on a couple of high-profile swing votes, but a larger and longer-running political dynamic was also at play.

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