HOUSE SPEAKER KEVIN McCarthy’s debt limit bill unveiled Wednesday would slash $130 billion from a broad range of domestic programs, including clean-energy subsidies and student loan forgiveness. But one thing the bill would not cut is the military, which last month requested an $842 billion budget.
Buried in the Pentagon’s sprawling budget request is an ask for at least $36 million to respond to Havana syndrome, the mysterious symptoms alleged by U.S. spies and diplomats. Initially blamed on microwave weapons wielded by foreign powers like Russia, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded there is “no credible evidence that a foreign adversary has a weapon or collection device that is causing” the symptoms — opening the possibility that they may be psychogenic in nature.
The amount represents an increase of $2.1 million over the previous fiscal year and “ensures that individuals affected by anomalous health incidents receive timely and comprehensive health care and treatment,” according to the Defense Health Program’s proposed operation and maintenance budget, released on March 13. “Anomalous health incidents,” or AHIs, is the U.S. government’s term for Havana syndrome, named after the CIA officers and diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba who, in 2016, reported symptoms like headaches, nausea, and hearing loud noises. Since then, U.S. Embassy personnel who served in other countries have reportedly been affected, including China, Colombia, France, Georgia, India, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Vietnam.