The bill now moves on to the Senate, where it again is expected to easily pass.
The exact meaning of the figures is a little difficult to understand this time around, because Congress had already passed a military spending bill for fiscal year 2017 back in December, which was $611 billion.
That bill was only ever intended to be a fraction of what was to be spent, aiming to give way to a second “emergency” bill before April, which is today’s bill, which would cover the rest of the year.
That said, there is a lot of overlap between the two and the overall budget is not just a matter of adding the two together.
Indeed, the $578 billion one voted on today probably will be bigger by the time it gets signed, with President Trump seeking to add another $30 billion, which is meant to be a first step toward what he promises will be a 9% increase in spending in fiscal year 2018.
The new bill intends $516 billion for “basic” military requirements, which is more than double any other nation on the planet’s spending, and also includes about $62 billion in additional spending for America’s assorted wars and occupations.
The only potential obstacle in the Senate is from the usual hawks like Sens. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) and John McCain (R – AZ), for whom any military budget, no matter how substantial its growth, is much too small, and doesn’t include nearly enough new wars to appear sufficiently patriotic.