US lawmakers approve record-setting $858bn defense budget for 2023

The Cradle, December 9, 2022 — Next year’s bloated defense budget includes billions to ‘counter’ Russian and Chinese influence in West Asia.

The US House of Representatives on 8 December overwhelmingly approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with 350 votes in favor and 80 against, far exceeding the two-thirds majority needed to pass the legislation and send it for a vote in the Senate.

The NDAA calls for record levels of Pentagon spending under the “national defense” category of the budget, essentially giving the US military $858 billion in taxpayer funds for next year.

This is $45 billion more than proposed by President Joe Biden and marks an $80 billion increase from last year’s budget. The increase alone is higher than the entire military budget of every country in the world, except for China, whose defense spending bill currently stands at $293 billion.

At this rate, the US is set to reach an unprecedent $1 trillion defense budget before the decade is out. Washington’s outrageous defense spending comes despite the fact the Pentagon has never passed a financial audit and is unable to account for trillions in assets.

The Senate is expected to pass the NDAA next week, sending it to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law before government officials go home for the holiday season.

A large chunk of next year’s bloated defense budget is set aside to purchase weapons the Pentagon did not request, but which are built in factories spread across the country that provide jobs for registered voters.

One particularly troubling section of the NDAA is the “Temporary Authorizations Related to Ukraine and Other Matters,” which calls for the development of 742 HIMARS rocket systems, 20,000 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, 25,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles, among other exorbitant numbers of weapons that would dramatically expand US weapons production capacity to the benefit of firms like Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.

By pushing for this expansion, future defense budgets will have to account for all the new factories and jobs created by the military-industrial complex, perpetuating Washington’s foreign policy of global domination at a cost of untold billions of dollars.

On top of this, the weapons included will be built under multi-year procurement contracts, a long-time wish of arms dealers who argue that reliable funding streams will enable them to expand and increase demand. However, these long-term contracts are also known to crush competition and drive-up prices.

The NDAA also calls for billions to be spent in “countering” Russia, China, and to perpetuate interference in West Asian countries, chief among them Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan.

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