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U.S. Budget is a Hot Topic for Congress

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U.S. House of Congress

U.S. House of Congress

U.S. House of Congress

Brennan Lee, Ranger Review Reporter

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On December 12, 2017, the 2018 Defense Budget was signed into law. This authorizes the spending of $700 billion dollars allowing for more pay for troops and general spending for the military. The only problem is that it passes the cap of the Budget and Control Act (BCA), which put a cap on of $549 billion dollars. This new budget would allow for 20,000 more slots in the military to open up, and also allow for more compensation for military families and members. However, this new law is putting strain on the rest of the government’s budget as well.

Congress had met many times since then and had kept trying to agree on a budget deal that will keep the government funded before a shutdown. The main issue; whether to focus on defense or non-defense spending of the budget. Trump warned in a tweet, “….Because of the Democrats not being interested in life and safety, DACA has now taken a big step backwards. The Dems will threaten “shutdown,” but what they are really doing is shutting down our military, at a time we need it most. Get smart, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

However, some of Congress said that if they were going to raise the defense budget, then they should also raise the budget for the non-defense side as well.

The main cause for the shutdown: the budget plan. Mostly it is deciding whether or not the defense or non-defense budget should be funded more. On January 19th Congress passed a stopgap bill to fund the government for an extra eight days to try and avoid the looming shutdown. However, this failed and the government still ended up in a predicament. The shutdown was a reality, and all anybody could do was hunker down and wait for it to pass.

The warnings from Trump about the military being adversely affected was semi-true according to Defense Secretary, General Mattis. He said that the budget wouldn’t hurt the military’s readiness, but if Congress can’t get its head in the game by the end of January then the military would be hurt. During the shutdown all military members still had to work, however their paychecks were delayed. So, temporarily they worked for free. Some other civilian Department of Defense workers also had to keep working through the shutdown.

The planned military budget of $700 billion dollars would allow for huge strides in improving military readiness House Speaker Paul Ryan said. However, when one looks at China’s defense budget, which is the second largest in the world, which was $219 billion dollars last year, while Russia’s was $70 billion. While it would help fund new projects for the military, it would also allow for more benefits for the troops, as well as ordering new planes and equipment for the military to play with.

The shutdown ended January 23rd, 2018, when Congress passed a new stopgap bill to fund Congress once more. But, the problem still persists of where the budget needs to be split up, and if the military doesn’t get the required funding by the beginning of February it might feel major drawbacks. But, if the civilian sector doesn’t get enough funding, then there might be some backlash for not having their voices heard.

The whole issue of Congress not agreeing on a budget plan would start a huge domino effect in every aspect of American life. Already, many government funded projects have been put on hold, military deployments are being delayed, and civil servants are being dropped. Many families survive off of somebody from their family being a civil servant or being in the military. These families wouldn’t be getting their paychecks and wouldn’t be able to afford to feed themselves.

Now, Congress has passed another stopgap bill to allow for three more weeks to figure out a new and agreed on budget plan. If Congress can decide on a workable budget plan before the three weeks time limit, the government will not go into another shutdown. However, if they don’t, then the next shutdown might be far longer than the last one.

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About the Writer
Brennan Lee, Reporter

 

Brennan Lee is now a sophomore at Lewis-Palmer High School, and he is new to the Ranger Review staff. He was born in Colorado. He enjoys watching...

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