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Budget debate in US Congress: Significantly higher military spending

Budget debate in US Congress: Significantly higher military spending

Republican and Democratic leaders agree on budget cap. But it is not known whether they are behind a sect.

“This is the best budget plan Republicans have negotiated in the last decade,” House Speaker Mike Johnson said. Photo: Will Oliver/EPA

Berlin taz | Less than two weeks before the upcoming new budget shutdown, leaders of the US Congress agreed on key figures for 2024 spending. After weeks of negotiations, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson announced their decision Sunday evening.

The deal sets a spending cap of around US$1.6 trillion (€1.45 trillion). This is similar to last year's expenditure. However, the budget for military spending is set to increase from $858 billion to $886.3 billion in 2023.

The package does not include $106 billion in special spending requested by U.S. President Joe Biden, including about $61.4 billion in military aid to Ukraine, $14.3 billion to Israel and $13.6 billion for U.S. border security. The funds, already requested in October, have always been rejected by Republicans, with demands that the government first take significant steps to secure the US southern border with Mexico before the funds can be approved.

However, a basic agreement on the ceiling has not yet averted the risk of a partial budget freeze starting on January 19, when the interim funding agreed last November expires. On the one hand, it is unclear whether the deal negotiated by Speaker Johnson has enough support in his Republican caucus.

Right-wing Republicans are already critical

Johnson called it “the best budget Republicans have negotiated in the last decade” — but there was already early criticism from right-wing circles organized in the “Freedom Caucus” that the draft contained too few savings and spending cuts.

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On the other hand, all of this still needs to be enacted and actually passed by both chambers of Congress — a process that usually takes more than the less than two weeks remaining. President Joe Biden, however, praised the draft, which at least “does not contain radical proposals” — and could be signed immediately.