ACTION ALERT: Cut the Pentagon’s Bloated Budget

June 17th, 2022 - by Veterans for Peace & Rep. Mark Pocan / US House of Representative

ACTION ALERT:  Cut DOD Budget by $100 Billion!

Buzz Davis / Veterans for Peace

TUCSON (June 15, 2022) — Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have been fighting to reduce Defense Department spending for maybe a decade.  Pocan and Lee and Sander and others have been the leaders of this effort for a long time.

Most of the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus vote in favor of substantial DOD cuts when the budget reduction amendment comes to the House floor for a vote.  Thus far it has failed each time.  But the no vote seems to be growing and was 93 House members voted to cut billions from the bloated Pentagon in 2020 and I think maybe 99 voted NO in 2021 if my memory is correct.

H.R. 8040 at the link below is the shortest bill you will have ever read that cuts Defense spending by $100 Billion in FY2023.

Reps. Pocan and Lee Introduce Bill to Cut Defense Spending by $100 Billion and Prioritize People Over the Pentagon

Rep. Mark Pocan / US House of Representative

WASHINGTON, DC (June 13, 2022) — Today, Defense Spending Reduction Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Mark Pocan and Barbara Lee introduced legislation to cut $100 billion from the Defense budget and reallocate the funds to prioritize people over the Pentagon.

“The Pentagon’s budget continues to grow year after year, even as our forever wars have finally wound down,” Rep. Pocan said. “The United States spends more on defense than the next nine countries combined and cutting it by $100 billion will still keep the United States safe at the top spot.

The amount of money the defense industry convinces Congress to spend each year doesn’t protect us from real threats like climate change, pandemics, or cyber-attacks. It only lines contractors’ pockets. Just imagine for once if we led the world in funding peace and not wars.”

“For far too long, this country has put profits ahead of its people. Nowhere is that more apparent than in our Pentagon topline budget,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Just last year, key priorities like Build Back Better were left on the negotiating table, while Congress approved a $782 billion defense budget — higher than the military even requested.

“Meanwhile, our constituents continue to struggle with the cost of living and barriers to basic needs like housing and health care. It is time that we realign our priorities to reflect the urgent needs of communities across this country that are healing from a pandemic, ongoing economic insecurity, and an international energy crisis — none of which will be resolved through greater military spending. Taking this step to downsize our military budget by $100 billion will ensure that our national security truly centers on the American people, not weapons industry profits.”

“The Lee-Pocan bill disproves the claim that there’s not money to feed the hungry, care for the sick, cut child poverty or protect the planet,” said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen. “With U.S. military spending totaling more than China and the next 8 biggest military spenders combined, the Lee-Pocan bill will reclaim $100 billion in Pentagon spending and free it to be reallocated to domestic and human needs priorities. Thank you, Reps. Lee and Pocan. This is how we advance our true national security interests.”

Click here to see the full text of the legislation.

Cosponsor Date Cosponsored
Rep. Pocan, Mark [D-WI-2]* 06/13/2022
Rep. Grijalva, Raúl M. [D-AZ-3]* 06/13/2022
Rep. Jayapal, Pramila [D-WA-7]* 06/13/2022
Del. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC-At Large]* 06/13/2022
Rep. Schakowsky, Janice D. [D-IL-9]* 06/13/2022
Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]* 06/13/2022
Rep. McGovern, James P. [D-MA-2]* 06/13/2022
Rep. Watson Coleman, Bonnie [D-NJ-12]* 06/13/2022
Rep. Omar, Ilhan [D-MN-5]* 06/13/2022

At this link you can check to see if your House member signs on as a co-sponsor —

Reps. Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan Statement on Vote for 10% Cut to Pentagon Budget

WASHINGTON — Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13), a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today released a statement on the House’s vote on their amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would cut the pentagon budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021.

Since the beginning of the Trump Administration, defense spending has increased every year — over $100 billion, almost 20%, in three years. Military spending now represents more than half of all federal discretionary spending.  This proposal, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would take

$74 billion in annual savings from the Pentagon — exempting salaries and health care — to create a domestic federal grant program to fund health care, housing, childcare and educational opportunities for cities and towns experiencing a poverty rate of 25% or more.

“We can’t keep pouring billions into the military while we face a public health crisis and families struggle to make ends meet. Our fight against this global pandemic has not only put a strain on our economy, but has demanded increased investment in human needs,” said Congresswoman Lee.

“There is a laundry list of ways we can better invest in America’s needs rather than feed into the military industrial complex. The hundreds of billions of dollars we spend on senseless, outdated war preparation can be better spent on healthcare, schools, and infrastructure, at the least. This amendment would have been a crucial first step in rebalancing our priorities, to build a safer, peaceful, prosperous world, at home and abroad. We must keep up the fight.”

“A $740 defense budget is a failure,” said Congressman Pocan. “A $74 billion cut to the defense budget would have been a modest reduction to a bloated budget filled with administrative waste and Pentagon slush funds. The American people need Congress to make an investment in their needs — in healthcare, housing and education — not another quarter of a trillion dollar giveaway to defense contractors.

“Our fight to reprioritize our budget is far from over, and until the federal budget reflects the needs of the American people, we will keep fighting.”

According to Data for Progress’ most recent poll, the majority of American voters want us to put their needs over the profits of Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing. Fifty-six percent of voters support cutting the defense budget by 10 percent to pay for priorities like fighting the coronavirus, education, healthcare & housing — including 50 percent of Republicans.

Fifty-seven percent of voters supported cutting the defense budget by 10 percent if funding was reallocated to the CDC and other more pressing domestic needs. Only 25 percent of people opposed the cut, that means more than twice as [many people support an over $70 billion cut to our defense budget than don’t, a 2:1 ratio.

The amendment to the NDAA did not pass in the House, but received 93 votes in support.