The Pentagon Can’t Pass An Audit. That Never Stops Congress from Giving It Even More Money.

Jonathan Cohn
2 min readDec 18, 2022

Last month, the Pentagon failed its audit — for the fifth time. If this were any other agency in federal government, you would hear howling from members of Congress.

But when it comes to the military, the response is always to increase the budget. Indeed, this past week, Congress finished sending an $847 billion military spending bill (National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA) to President Biden, $45 billion more than he asked for. Given how Congress always tries to nickel-and-dime social spending, that extra $45 billion is especially galling. You could extend the child tax credit to the neediest families, for example, with only a quarter of that amount.

On December 8, the House voted 350 to 80 to pass the FY 2023 NDAA, with 45 Democrats and 35 Republicans in opposition.

Here were the 45 Democrats:

In the version of the FY 2023 NDAA that the House first passed in July, the vote was 329 to 101. The difference? Republican opposition fell from 62 to 35, and Democratic opposition ticked up from 39 to 45.

On the Democratic side, six Democrats who voted for the NDAA over the summer flipped their vote to oppose it: Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Judy Chu (CA-27), Danny Davis (IL-07), Donald Payne (NJ-10), and Adam Schiff (CA-28). Nydia Velázquez (NY-09) was not present in July but voted no this month. Pete DeFazio (OR-04) was the only no vote to flip to yes.

On Thursday, the Senate passed the NDAA 83 to 11, with six members of the Democratic caucus and five Republicans voting no. The Democrats were Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). The Republicans were Mike Braun (R-IN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Rand Paul (R-KY).

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Jonathan Cohn

Editor. Bibliophile. Gadfly. Environmentalist. Super-volunteer for progressive campaigns. Boston by way of Baltimore, London, NYC, DC, and Philly.