The U.S. Congress approved a massive annual defense bill on Friday which authorizes the Defense Department to train Iraqi, Kurdish and Syrian forces to fight Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria – what will bring overall defense spending to $577 billion.
The measure officially authorizes the Pentagon’s plan to vet, train and equip a Syrian opposition military force to fight the Islamic State group. The new budget also includes $64 billion for international interventions.
The total defense allowance is roughly the equivalent of total education and healthcare spending in the country combined. It is also more than China, Russia and the British defense budgets combined, according to reports by NBC News.
The Senate voted on the legislation 89-11 and resubmitted it to President Barack Obama to ratify. The U.S. House of Representatives recently endorsed the measure, authorizing military spending for the 2015 fiscal year.
The bill approves a base budget for the Pentagon of $496 billion. It also authorizes $17.9 billion for Energy Department nuclear weapons work.
United States military expenditures have skyrocketed, accelerating each year despite the scheduled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.
According to a new report by the U.S. Commerce Department on Oct. 30, military spending for the third-quarter of 2014 has increased by 16 percent. The Defense Department estimates that military actions in Syria and Iraq will run up to nearly $10 million dollars per day.