ACTION ALERT: Cut the Pentagon Budget: Support People, Don’t Slaughter People

July 14th, 2022 - by Maryellen Kurkulos / Massachusetts Peace Action

ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress to
Cut the $813 Billion Pentagon Budget!

Maryellen Kurkulos / Massachusetts Peace Action

(July 13, 2022) — In our last Pentagon alert, we reported on efforts by Representatives Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan against the House Armed Services Committee wanting an extra $37 billion for the Pentagon to be added to President Biden’s $813 billion FY2023 request. And because you responded opposing that increase and in support of Pentagon cuts, we have another opportunity to put the brakes on the upward trajectory of ever more money for war.

The Voting Has Started
This week, the House of Representatives is voting on the hundreds of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We need you to help us swarm Congress and ask them to get two Lee-Pocan amendments into this bill, one to eliminate the extra $37 billion and one to cut $100 billion from the Pentagon budget.

Fund Our Communities, Not War
Right now, the US is spending more than it did at the heights of the Vietnam and Korean wars. That extra $37 billion is almost twice the amount in Covid relief programs Congress ditched this year. $100 billion could fund the clean energy and child care provisions that were part of President Biden’s BBB initiative response. With inflation mounting, our tax dollars are desperately needed to help people not the Pentagon, especially the 140 million poor and working poor among us.

The NDAA Must Include Pro-Peace Amendments
There are also a number of amendments that need to be included in the final House version of the NDAA. These include:
•  Rep. Barbara Lee’s resubmission to repeal of the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq;
•  the amendment to assess the likelihood of a nuclear launch due to the Russian war against Ukraine;
•  one designed to keep the $60 billion in US weapons sent to Ukraine out of the hands of extremists;
•  one that would support the release of the $3.5 billion in bank holdings that belong to the Afghanistan people in crisis;
•  two amendments to report on the humanitarian impact of US sanctions against countries;
•  one concerning nuclear-capable sea-launched cruise missiles;
•  and one concerning the alleged misuse of US defense articles in the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

By any metric, ours is a society in deep distress, with a pandemic that still kills hundreds every day, and the latest shocking revelations from the January 6th hearings.

ACTION: Help us make real strides towards peace: ask your members of Congress to vote for the Lee-Pocan amendments to cut the ever-growing Pentagon budget and for the suite of pro-peace amendments that MAPA supports.

As voting has begun for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. I am asking you to vote for the following companion amendments by Representatives Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan. These amendments would contain and reverse the ongoing trend of unnecessary increases to the Pentagon budget that presently exceeds the combined amount of the world’s next nine largest military budgets:

  • Amendment 13 reduces the FY23 NDAA topline by $100 billion, while holding harmless personnel, civilian pay and benefits, and the Defense Health Program
  • Amendment 14 reverses the $36.987 billion increase made at House Armed Services Committee markup above the President’s FY23 request.

The current Pentagon budget is a staggering $782 billion, more than the U.S. was spending at the heights of the Vietnam and Korean wars. It does not provide Americans with real security but rather makes us more insecure. Our tax dollars are desperately needed for investments such as programs to achieve economic stability, climate justice, and affordable health care.

Additionally, I ask that you vote in favor of the following amendments that offer opportunities for building a more peaceful future:
For people, planet and an end to war,

Maryellen Kurkulos is a Board member of Massachusetts Peace Action