The tension between fiscal hawks who want to cap how much the nation spends on defense, and national security hawks who say the Pentagon needs more money to carry out its mission could result in transforming the Overseas Contingency Operations fund into a permanent slush fund, Politico
The contingency fund is meant to cover extra costs incurred in the continuing conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan — not paid for in the $561 billion base defense budget — and is not subject to spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act.
Between 2001-2014, some $71 billion of — strictly speaking — non-war money was appropriated to the Pentagon by using the contingency fund, according to the Congressional Research Service. These expenditures helped pay for logistics, maintenance, training, and the National Guard and Reserve, for example.
Former Clinton White House budget analyst Gordon Adams told Politico that using the contingency fund to cover costs that belong in the regular Pentagon budget has created "a slush fund for defense, period."
In a compromise between fiscal and defense hawks, about $96 billion is expected to be budgeted for the war contingency fund in fiscal year 2016.
House members will be given an opportunity to vote on two versions of a measure
to build up the off-budget war contingency fund by about $38 billion: one requiring an effort to find alternate savings, the other with no offsets.
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