The fast-approaching defense budget ‘train wreck’ – Connor O’Brien 07/24/2017 06:41 PM EDT

Republican attempts to boost military spending are on a collision course with GOP-backed budget caps.

Defense budget advocates in the House, led by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), want House Speaker Paul Ryan to hold a vote on legislation eliminating the defense caps. | John Minchillo/AP Photo

Congressional Republicans trying to boost military spending by tens of billions of dollars face a major problem: Their efforts would run afoul of the law.

Bills moving in the House and Senate would go beyond even the defense buildup pledged by President Donald Trump, providing money for more soldiers, fighter jets, warships and missile defenses than the Pentagon had requested.

But those proposals exceed the limits imposed by a 2011 budget law, demanded by Republican budget hawks, that caps spending and requires annual across-the-board cuts to rein in deficits. And that makes the defense budget yet another example of the internal GOP policy divides that have stymied the party on other major issues like health care.

Some lawmakers fear Congress is heading toward a “disaster” or “train wreck” on defense spending — with no obvious pathway ahead to lift the caps.

“If you use the painting-yourself-into-a-corner analogy, they’re not talking about how to get out of the corner,” said Adam Smith of Washington, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. “They’re talking about how much more floor space to paint.”

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