The bill, which passed 85-10 in a massive show of bipartisan support, represents a considerable boost in defense spending across the board – roughly $82 billion just for next year.
The annual increase by itself is bigger than the annual defense budget of Russia ($61 billion) and the two-year jump of over $165 billion eclipses the entire defense budget of China ($150 billion).
The bill is a major win for Trump, who has made no secret about his desire to push through giant increases in military spending. The legislation even sends the U.S. down the road to meeting the Trump administration’s lunatic goal of developing smaller, more “flexible” (read: usable) nuclear weapons, as it includes $65 million for the development of a new, lower-yield, submarine-launched nuke.
But the problem with the defense bill, at least in terms of attracting coverage, is that it’s also a big win for almost every other major political constituency in Washington.
Spending on defense lobbying has actually been dropping slightly in recent years, but that may only be because the opposition to defense spending has become so anemic that lobbyists don’t really need to bother anymore. Historically, both parties reflexively vote to increase the defense budget, and there was not much #resistance in Congress on this issue. Opposition even to the bill’s quirks was limited, and overall opposition to the huge increase in spending was virtually nonexistent outside a few voices.