Budget 2016: Defense Faces Stiff Political Headwinds

The White House is unveiling a funding plan for the Pentagon that kicks off another round of fiscal battles that have become a hallmark of President Obama’s administration.

The president’s budget for fiscal year 2016 seeks a sizeable boost to defense and domestic spending. But there is little to no chance that Congress will go along. Domestic political disputes and a broken budget process almost guarantee the Pentagon will continue to live under a cloud of fiscal uncertainty for the remainder of the year.

The Obama administration is proposing a federal budget for 2016 that exceeds legally mandated limits on discretionary spending by $74 billion, including $35 billion for defense. For the Pentagon, which has pleaded for relief from the spending caps for the past three years, this ought to be a welcome reprieve. The Budget Control Act restricts defense baseline spending at $499 billion. The 2016 proposal seeks $534 billion for the defense baseline budget and $51 billion for war spending, according to officials who disclosed the figures to reporters ahead of the Feb. 2 release. The president’s budget also increases nondefense discretionary spending by $34 billion.

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