CAPITOL HILL: After you count up all the cuts and additions in the House Armed Services Committee’s mark-up of the Pentagon budget, the bill appears to authorize $554 billion for national defense (budget function 050).

At a time when the Pentagon faces the prospect of mandatory spending cuts of another $53 billion if sequestration happens right after the Jan.1 hangover, that’s $4 billion more than the president’s request of $550 billion and eight billion more than the maximum permitted by the Budget Control Act, $546 billion. Keep reading →