Pentagon’s $738 Billion Budget: Find Out Who Voted for War

December 19th, 2019 - by Erica Fein / Win Without War

Congress Approves a $738 Billion Gift to Trump and the Military Industrial Complex

Erica Fein / Win Without War

WASHINGTON, DC (December 18, 2019) — Congress just handed Trump a blank check for war. And Representative Barbara Lee was one of the few people who stood on the right side of history.

Congress sent the $738 billion FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act to Trump’s desk — where he’s more than happy to sign off on it. 

I’m disappointed in Congress. But I’m not defeated. Because I’m not alone in this fight. 

With activists like you, and champions in Congress who are willing to do the right thing and bravely vote against the status quo like Representative Barbara Lee did, we are slowly but surely building the power we need to win. 

That’s why it’s really important that we write Rep. Lee and let her know we’re watching, that we appreciate her vote, and that we expect her to keep doing everything she can to end endless war. 

Year after year, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes weaponry and massive funding levels at the Pentagon. It’s viewed as a must-pass bill for the military-industrial-complex. 

But this year, thanks to the combined demands of leaders in Congress and progressive grassroots activists like you, the House version of the bill extracted major wins that — while still including a massively bloated Pentagon budget — put restraints on the White House’s out-of-control foreign policy.

For example, it included critical provisions that would have blocked an unauthorized war with Iran, ended U.S. complicity in the devastating war in Yemen, prevented Trump’s discriminatory ban on transgender service members, halted the deployment of Trump’s “gateway nukes,” and much more.

But then came time to negotiate with the Senate, whose bill included no such provisions. And frankly, House and Senate leadership also came up with a scheme that made the bill hard to vote against. Here’s what happened: 

By the time negotiations were done, the NDAA was a $738 billion giveaway to the Pentagon that did almost nothing to constrain Trump and that even set up a new branch of the military known as Space Force.To avoid looking like a total loss, House leadership was able to make a deal to include 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers — a sweetener for members of Congress on the fence about how to vote.

The result was something we’ve seen many times over the years: the fate of key progressive priorities to improve the lives of the American people was tied to more spending at the Pentagon and further militarization of society. 

We’ve got to change their calculation. 

We did EVERYTHING we could to say NO to this blank check for endless wars, boon for the defense industry, and gift to Donald Trump.

But it wasn’t enough this time. Last week, 48 representatives stood on the right side of history and voted NO against the NDAA’s reckless militarism. Rep. Lee was one of them. Instead of voting with the status quo of the rest of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Lee voted with us.

And that’s why it’s more important than ever that we reach out to her today. To let Rep. Lee know that we are watching her, that we are grateful for her vote, and that we hope she will keep standing on the right side of history.

ACTION: Will you write to Representative Barbara Lee today that you are proud she voted the right way on the NDAA?

Our members of Congress are supposed to work for us, are supposed to represent us. And when they actually do their job and represent us — when they do the right thing — we have to make as much noise as we do when they don’t. They also need to know that we are paying attention to the ways they’re representing us well so that they continue to make the right decisions.

Thank you for working for peace, Erica, Michael, Tara, and the Win Without War team

Who Voted for War

Want to see the final NDAA vote tallies for the House and Senate? Check out our NDAA vote tracker!