US Politicians Vote for Weapons; Profit from Wars

September 4th, 2021 - by Amy Frame / Win Without War & Joe Gould / Defense News

Naked Corruption:
More than 40 Congressmembers Profit from War Spending

Amy Frame / Win Without War & Joe Gould / Defense News

 (September 2, 2021) — From shareholders’ dividends, to receiving millions in campaign donations, to job-creation schemes, to the revolving door into the Pentagon — the corrupt connections between defense contractors and Congress are as powerful as they are devastating. 

It’s unconscionable. But in the coming months, the entire Congress will vote on the Pentagon budget — and that means our fight ramps up now. Because with your help, Win Without War is determined to turn this status quo around.

Arms dealers profit by keeping our priorities focused on weapons and war. And yesterday, every Republican and 14 Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee voted to give them a $37 BILLION handout by increasing the already bloated Pentagon budget.

Let’s not mince words: every member of Congress who votes to put profits before our communities’ needs should be ashamed. With your help, we’ll hold them accountable and get our priorities back in order. Read on to learn more about our work together.

Breaking News

A powerful lawmaker just unveiled a new push to increase the already astronomical Pentagon budget by $37 BILLION, plowing money to defense contractors for unnecessary warships, fighter jets, tanks, and helicopters.

Why is this happening? Well, maybe it’s a coincidence, but a new investigation found nearly four-dozen members of Congress hold shares in weapons corporations — companies whose value has risen nearly 900% since the start of the war in Afghanistan.

These companies profit from keeping our priorities focused on weapons and war. But redistributing taxpayer money to corporations, and then personally profiting? It’s naked corruption — and the consequences are life or death. 

Not many are willing to go up against the enormous influence of mega defense corporations and their lobbyists, but that’s what Win Without War is built to do. Together with a growing cohort of brave lawmakers we’re fighting tooth and nail to block this latest attempt to blow-out the bloated Pentagon budget, and we need your support.

These “death dollars” fuel wars like the one in Afghanistan while denying funds for urgently under-resourced areas like public healthcare, education, and refugee resettlement. 

From millions in donations every election cycle, to job-creation schemes in the districts of key lawmakers, to the revolving door into the Pentagon — the omnipresence of the corruption of the defense industry is as powerful as it is devastating

It’s not just Congress that’s caught in this corrupt nexus. We see it in the abject failure by most media outlets to point out that their parade of ex-military and ex-public officials are almost all on the payroll of the weapons industry as advisors or board members. These same folks have dominated recent discussions about Afghanistan across cable news.

And now, in addition to $37 BILLION more that’s being pushed for in the annual Pentagon Budget, it’s once more clear as defense corporations and their lobbyists have greedily clamored to claim a $3 BILLION windfall from funds that had been allocated to the recently collapsed Afghan security forces. 

It’s high time that we stop spending where war profiteers and arms lobbyists want, and start spending on the things that will improve peoples’ lives.

From fulfilling our obligation to the people of Afghanistan, to responding to hurricanes and forest fires fueled by climate change, to fixing our broken healthcare system still under the stress of COVID, the war industry’s insatiable appetite for death dollars completely distorts our country’s priorities for their own self-interest. And with your help, Win Without War is determined to turn the status quo around. 

This is a massive uphill battle, but we are better positioned than ever to build power and win as we use every tool we’ve got to block the bloated Pentagon budget.

The past twenty years should be a clear signal that the last thing that will build security and peace is yet another war, yet more destruction, and yet more unnecessarily lost lives. 

Congress spends hundreds of billions of dollars each year on keeping the arms industry afloat. As we finally turn the page on the disastrous U.S. war in Afghanistan, the very last thing we should be doing is plowing more desperately needed taxpayer dollars into our military arsenal.

Rogers Proposes $25 Billion Defense
Plus-up Ahead of NDAA Markup

Joe Gould / Defense News

(August 30, 2021) — In a rebuke to President Joe Biden’s proposed defense budget, a key Republican is recommending $25 billion more in spending for the House’s draft defense policy bill.

House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mike Rogers, R-Ala., plans to offer an amendment to his panel’s draft 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which is set to be debated in committee on Wednesday. It would increase weapons procurement spending by $9.8 billion, drawing significantly from the military’s unfunded priorities lists.

Defense News obtained multiple summaries of the amendment, which were circulating on Capitol Hill Monday. The amendment comes as HASC Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., unveiled a draft NDAA that matches Biden’s request of $744 billion for Pentagon and Energy Department defense programs.

Republicans, and some Democrats, have said for weeks that Biden’s national defense proposal, which planned to divest some ships and aircraft to prioritize modernization, is inadequate to deter a rising China. Rogers said in a statement he hopes to see the amendment supported.

“We cannot afford to cut corners and play politics with our national security,” Rogers said. “President Biden’s proposed defense budget for FY22 was wholly inadequate — leaving our men in women in uniform in a vulnerable position and projectedweakness to our adversaries.”

Rogers’ amendment would bar the Navy from decommissioning three aging cruisers, as part of a $4.7 billion seapower spending addition over Smith’s mark. It also would include $1.5 billon for another DDG-51; $1.2 billion for an additional amphibious assault ship; $668 million for an added oiler and $567 million to expand procurement to three Virginia-class submarines per year.

The amendment would add $1.7 billion for air power, including $394 million for four additional KC-130Js for the Navy and Marine Corps; $340 million for two additional P-8 Poseidons for the Navy; and $212 million for nine additional UH-60 Blackhawks for the Army National Guard.

It proposes $878 million in ground vehicle additions, including $234 million for Abrams tank upgrades; $183 million for HMMWV modifications; $139 million for Stryker upgrades and $120 million for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program.

Another $5.2 billon is added for research, development, test, evaluation accounts, including $3.7 billion for “emerging technologies,” according to one summary. Budget lines for military construction and facilities improvements would net another $3.8 billion in total.

At least one Democrat, House Armed Services Committee vice chair Elaine Luria, has announced support for the Rogers amendment. Luria, who represents a shipbuilding-heavy district in Virginia, lauded the bill’s “significant investments” in shipyards and naval vessels that would be used to deter China in Pacific waters.

“Without additional resources, we will lose another generation of shipbuilding in this country, and we will be less prepared to defend both the U.S. and our allies’ interests,” Luria said. “I intend to join Ranking Member Rogers and support the amendment adding $25 billion to our defense budget.”

Last month, the evenly-divided Senate Armed Services Committee advanced a version of the FY22 NDAA that included $25 billion above Biden’s proposal. A FY22 defense appropriations bill that tracks with Biden’s budget advanced out of the House Appropriations Committee, but with less support.

In the narrowly divided House and the 50-50 Senate, Democrats will likely need Republicans to pass defense measures. For months, Rogers has been among the Republicans signaling that the path to gaining GOP support involves a defense plus-up. Smith and other lead Democrats have acknowledged that Republicans have significant leverage in that push.

Earlier this month, Smith told Defense News he doesn’t agree with the increase but is open to the idea as a means of advancing the bill.

“The people who want to spend more than the Biden number have built a lot of support, and yes, I think that [$25 billion increase] is a potential bipartisan pathway,” Smith said. “I don’t support it, I don’t think that’s where we should go, but at the end of the day, I have one vote.”

“The reality is, as we’ve seen with the defense appropriations bill, we do not have the votes to pass it with just Democrats, and that’s the worst kept secret in the building,” he added. “And it is very important to pass a defense bill; it has a lot of important policies that we’re trying to get done.”

Also on Monday, more than two dozen House Democrats warned against an increase, in a letter led by progressive Reps. Mark Pocan and Barbara Lee to Smith, rebuking the SASC’s plus-up when “America’s largest national security thread is a global pandemic.”

“Surpassing the President’s request by such a larger and unwarranted amount should not be the starting position of the House Armed Services Committee, particularly when current defense spending levels should already be reduced,” they wrote.

Related Reading

• Lawmakers Benefit From Booming Defense Stocks, David Moore / Sludge
Dems Voting Against Pentagon Cuts Got 3.4x More Money From the Defense Industry
House Dem in Charge of Military Budget Opposes Cuts Favored by Progressives
The Members of Congress Who Profit From War

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

ACTION ALERT: Ban Politicians from Owning Weapons Stocks

John Sellers / Other98

The war in Afghanistan is finally over — but we still need to end war profiteering. 

According to a new report from Sludge, at least 11 Senators and 36 members of Congress and their spouses own millions in defense contractor stocks. Obviously, this is a massive conflict of interest. 

And this isn’t a partisan issue. These 47 members are both Democrats and Republicans. 

It’s really simple: members of Congress shouldn’t be allowed to own stocks — especially from major defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. 

Defense contractors make most of their money from the US government and they got massive returns for themselves and their shareholders.

It’s a moral failure for war — and all the unnecessary death and suffering that comes with it — to be profitable for elected officials. 

The American people (and the world) deserve a lot better. We need leaders acting in our interest, not in the interest of their own wallets.

ACTION: Add your name to urge Congress to ban Senators and Representatives from owning personal stocks by making the Ban Conflicted Trading Act law.

In solidarity, 
John Sellers / Other98