On August 2, 2019, President Trump signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, raising the budget caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021 and suspending the debt ceiling. Seamus Daniels and Todd Harrison assess the impact of the budget deal on defense in their latest analysis.
The Trump administration is not requesting that Congress raise the budget caps at all, either for defense or non-defense. Instead, the administration is asking Congress to use a loophole in the law to allow for higher defense spending without breaching the budget caps: overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding.
The OCO budget has been taken advantage of to skirt defense spending limits and to fund base budget activities that do not actually constitute war funding. However, moving all of OCO’s enduring costs into the base budget for the final two years of the Budget Control Act caps may not be politically expedient for passing a budget agreement for FY 2020 and FY 2021.