Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis briefs members of the media on Syria at the Pentagon April 13, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

139 House Democrats Join GOP to Approve $717 Billion in Military Spending

"How are they going to pay for this? Oh wait, that question only gets asked when it comes to social programs that benefit the working class."

Jake Johnson

With the help of 139 Democrats, the House of Representatives on Thursday easily rammed through the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which—if it passes the Senate—will hand President Donald Trump $717 billion in military spending.

"Of the total $717 billion, the bill would authorize $616.9 billion for the base Pentagon budget, $21.9 billion for nuclear weapons programs under the Energy Department, and another $69 billion in war spending from the special Overseas Contingency Operations account," Politico reported following the 359-54 vote. View the full roll call here.

Additionally, the NDAA passed by the House would authorize 13 new Navy warships, approve the Pentagon's request to buy 77 F-35s, and green-light "a new submarine-launched, low-yield nuclear warhead," Politico notes.

"How are they going to pay for this?" asked one commentator on Twitter. "Oh wait, that question only gets asked when it comes to social programs that benefit the working class."

The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald added:

The House's passage of the 2019 NDAA comes just days after Trump fired off a hysterical Twitter rant against Iran, warning the nation's leaders in all capital letters to "NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN."

What Trump didn't mention is that Iran's so-called "threat" against the United States came after a Reuters report revealed that the White House—led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton—has launched a secret effort to "foment unrest" inside Iran, which critics described as an obvious push for regime change.

Amid escalating tensions between the two nations sparked by Trump's ultra-hawkish administration, one of the few tiny bright spots in the NDAA is language that says "nothing in this act may be construed to authorize the use of force against Iran."

This "explanatory statement" was included thanks to amendments pushed by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and passed unanimously by the House.

"I'm grateful to see Congress' top defense legislators go on the record and agree that President Trump does not have an authorization to use military force against Iran. Given Trump's recent irresponsible all-caps tweet threatening Iran, it's critical to know that he has no legal authority to use military force without explicit approval from Congress," Ellison said in a statement on Thursday.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Senators Set to Leave Town for 10-Day Recess Without Action on Gun Violence Crisis

"How many more children, mothers, and fathers need to be murdered in cold blood before the Senate has the guts to ban assault weapons and take on the NRA?" asked Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·


Scientists to BlackRock Vice Chairman: New Fossil Fuel Development 'Incompatible' With 1.5°C

"The only responsible course of action is to do everything in our power to stop fossil fuel expansion and further emissions."

Jessica Corbett ·


Goldman Prize Awarded to Activists Who Showed Nature's 'Amazing Capability to Regenerate'

"While the many challenges before us can feel daunting, and at times make us lose faith, these seven leaders give us a reason for hope and remind us what can be accomplished in the face of adversity."

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders Call for Federal Election Monitors in Georgia to Protect Black Voters

"It is imperative that our election this November is monitored to preserve ballot integrity and ensure ballot security."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Inaction Is Bought': Here Are the Receipts on NRA's Purchase of GOP

"The issue is money in politics," said Nina Turner after the nation's latest mass killing of students and teachers. Right-wing lawmakers are "allowing children to die because of the gun lobby."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo