In a bipartisan show of support for endless war and out-of-control military spending, the House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the nearly $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 that aims to boost war outlays by $80 billion—an amount that critics noted would easily cover the costs of free public college tuition and other initiatives that are frequently dismissed as too expensive.
"Flint still doesn't have drinking water, we are told we cannot have affordable single-payer, free college education is too costly, we do not have money to help the homeless, we do not have money to fix our infrastructure."
—Matthew BattleThe final vote tally was 357-70, with 127 Democrats throwing their support behind the bill. Sixty-seven Democrats—including Reps. Barbara Lee of California, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, and John Conyers of Michigan—voted against the legislation.
In addition to providing cash for 90 F-35 jets—20 more than President Donald Trump requested—the measure also approves more than $12 billion for the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, a massive boost in funding that comes amid soaring tensions between the United States and North Korea.
As the Associated Press notes, the legislation additionally "includes money for as many as 28 additional Ground-Based Interceptors, which are anti-missile missiles that would be launched from underground silos in Alaska in the event the U.S. decided to try to shoot down a North Korean missile heading toward the United States. The interceptors are designed to directly hit the enemy missile outside the Earth’s atmosphere, obliterating it by the force of impact."
The House vote sets the stage for the Senate to debate the legislation shortly after Thanksgiving before sending it to Trump's desk. Because the measure far exceeds the $549 billion ceiling set by the Budget Control Act, "House and Senate leaders must strike a budget deal that increases the caps in order to boost defense spending as prescribed by the bill," Politico reports.
Commentators were quick to slam the House for approving such a massive gift to the military while "Flint still doesn't have drinking water, we are told we cannot have affordable single-payer, free college education is too costly, we do not have money to help the homeless, we do not have money to fix our infrastructure."
Also - the implicit framing here that increased military spending is necessary to protect us from our own President's recklessness, is just wrong. This is a massive cash cow for weapons companies, nothing more. https://t.co/ZauQXXPh63— Alex Emmons (@AlexEmmons) November 14, 2017
"We can't afford to take action on climate change" https://t.co/aAZSbKLlBn— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) November 14, 2017
But universal health care and tuition free college are too expensive. https://t.co/JiShmRjZ8p— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) November 14, 2017
What if we tell @HouseGOP & @HouseDemocrats that North Korea wanted to close schools, take our healthcare away and pump CO2 into our air - we could suddenly, magically find $700 billion dollars for all of it. https://t.co/pa1IYu4kba— Rafael Shimunov (@rafaelshimunov) November 14, 2017