Now Democrats have figured out how to finally pay for it: offset all of this new spending by taking credit for not spending money on the wars they have already said they were not going to continue.
The Budget Control Act allowed for budget credit in a category called Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). This defense spending on the wars we are fighting has always been added to the budget as emergency supplemental funding. This money has been added outside of any spending caps that previously had been agreed to.
Now under the BCA, you can count money not spent outside of budget limits as budget savings.
Thus, by announcing that you will not continue wars in Afghanistan and Iraq at current levels, you get credit for budget savings that you can spend elsewhere. If in the future we determine our military forces still need to be engaged those regions, we declare it an “emergency” and can continue spending all the money we want.
When will all this budgetary sleight-of-hand happen?
Look for it near Christmastime, as government funding will be about to run out and Congress must either pass an Omnibus Appropriations bill for the rest of fiscal year 2012 or kick the can down the road with another continuing resolution to allow the government to pay its bills for another short period of time.
The threat of shutting the government down is the Armageddon needed to drive a deal.