Soon, Congress will vote on the Bipartisan Budget Act—legislation to keep our government and fully fund our military. This bill is the single most important thing we can do to ensure our troops get the resources they need. And it ends the Obama-era practice of spending parity, which previously tied dollar-for-dollar increases in defense spending with increases in discretionary spending.
And even as we meet our obligations to the military, this bill still leaves discretionary spending well below budget projections from 2011.
Shortly before the Budget Control Act (BCA) was enacted, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected base discretionary spending authority would be $1.251 trillion in FY 2018.
Today’s agreement comes in well south of that. The Bipartisan Budget Act would set base discretionary spending authority at $1.208 trillion for FY 2018—$43 billion lower than CBO’s original projection from seven years ago.
And this does not even take into account the hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of savings from mandatory spending programs included in this deal and the two previous sequester-reversing budget agreements in 2013 and 2015.
These numbers are important when considering the budgetary impact of this bipartisan agreement, and it underscores that our mandatory spending programs—not discretionary spending, like for our military—continue to be the driver our long-term debt challenge.