Gigantic $633 Billion Military Spending Bill to Finance Global Warfare
By Kate Randall
December 22, 2013
The US Senate voted Thursday night to authorize nearly $633 billion in military spending. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation, which provides $552.1 billion for the regular military budget and $80.7 billion for the war in Afghanistan and other overseas contingency operations (OCO).
The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes spending for the fiscal year that began October 1. It is the 52nd consecutive year that Congress has passed such legislation, and represents a minimal reduction from the $643 billion authorized for fiscal year 2013.
To put these expenditures into perspective, the budget for all of fiscal year 2013 for food stamps, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), was $76.4 billion, only 12 percent of the figure designated for the military in 2014. A Republican proposal in the Farm Bill, which Congress has yet to pass, would cut $39 billion over the next decade from this vital nutrition program.
Some 1.3 million Americans will lose their sole income at the end of this month when the federal government ends extended unemployment benefits. The $25.6 billion spent on these benefits in 2013 is dwarfed by the massive spending on the military apparatus and its destructive weaponry slated for fiscal year 2014.
The Senate voted 84-15 to pass the Pentagon spending bill, and the US House approved similar legislation last week in a 350-69 vote. The bill’s passage demonstrates the overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress for the continued US presence in Afghanistan and other acts of military aggression across the globe. The legislation covers combat pay, ships, aircraft and military bases, as well as providing a 1 percent pay raise to military personnel.
The bill also includes measures in response to the widespread instances of sexual assault in the US military and their cover-up and deliberate disregard and mishandling by the military brass. The Pentagon estimates that at least 26,000 members of the military may have been sexually assaulted last year alone, and that thousands more victims did not come forward for fear of inaction or retribution.