Pentagon spending stuck in neutral even as lawmakers back budget boost

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Congress has overwhelmingly backed a $25 billion increase to President Joe Biden’s Pentagon budget, but the battle over defense spending is far from over.

Biden last week signed annual defense policy legislation that calls for significantly boosting his $715 billion Pentagon blueprint to $740 billion. But the just-enacted National Defense Authorization Act doesn’t actually provide any money, and lawmakers have until mid-February to reach a deal to fund the Pentagon and other federal agencies for the rest of the fiscal year.

There are, however, signs that Congress is inching toward a deal, after POLITICO first reported that House Democratic appropriators are preparing to agree to a larger defense budget than either they or Biden wanted.

In the meantime, though, the Defense Department — and all other federal agencies — are stuck at even lower budget levels agreed to during the Trump…

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