50 House Lawmakers Are Right: Excessive Pentagon Spending Won’t Make Us Safer

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WASHINGTON — Today, 50 members of Congress, led by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), and Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), sent a joint letter calling on President Joe Biden to reduce topline Pentagon funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Presidential Budget Request. A broad, transpartisan coalition of civil society groups — representing anti-war, environmental, faith-based, anti-racist and scientific communities — commends the leadership of Reps. Lee, Pocan, and Auchincloss, and all signers, and urges the Biden administration to heed their call.

Coming against the backdrop of a devastating pandemic, global economic crisis, and looming climate catastrophe, it is more critical than ever that we end the failed mindset that has led us to funnel near-limitless funds into warmaking while ignoring the true threats to our security. The U.S.’s budget priorities are dangerously out of whack. It’s time to put them back in order.

The full letter is available here, and additional quotes from supporting organizations are here.

 

“The pandemic has underscored how grotesquely bloated our Pentagon budget is and how spending on weapons does nothing to address many of the greatest national security risks,” said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen. “Now is the time to reverse course on the ‘too much is never enough’ approach to Pentagon spending and start redirecting some of that money into priority domestic and human needs.”

“Decades of endless war and an ever-expanding Pentagon budget have done nothing to keep us safe,” said Win Without War Advocacy Director Erica Fein. “In fact, as the Covid-19 crisis has made all-too clear, our misplaced priorities have left us woefully unprepared to meet the security threats of the 21st century. President Biden must break with the failed approach of his predecessor and start listening to the people. It’s time to cut the Pentagon budget.”

“President Biden has said that ending poverty would be a theory of change in his Administration,” said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice. “We know we can’t end poverty or systemic racism or address the scourge of this pandemic, without also addressing our distorted spending on militarism and redirecting resources towards meeting our basic needs.”

“President Biden should seize this moment and put an end to the Trump-era vanity spending on weapons and war chests and instead invest these funds in our communities,” said Rahna Epting, Executive Director of MoveOn. “There is much work we need to do, from restoring our economy to combating the climate crisis to advancing racial justice and more. This is a historic opportunity to drive diplomacy and prosperity across the globe.” 

“The Pentagon’s budget is at an all-time high, exceeding spending on all appropriated domestic programs combined,” said Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director at the Coalition on Human Needs. “Reducing unnecessary Pentagon spending will free up much needed revenue for human needs priorities, enabling us to reduce poverty, protect our health, and improve economic security for our nation.”

“The Union of Concerned Scientists strongly endorses this letter from Congressional leaders to President Biden,” said Stephen Young, Senior Washington Representative at the Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program. “It highlights the critical choices facing our country at a time when too many are suffering from the harmful effects of the pandemic, climate change, racial inequality and the economic crisis. Now is not the time to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on an oversized military, but instead to make investments in improving people’s daily lives.”

“If this Administration is serious about prioritizing people and planet, it must substantially reduce military spending and invest in a just transition for workers and communities, including those on the frontlines of the climate crisis,” said Gaurav Madan, Senior Campaigner at Friends of the Earth “The US military remains the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Now is the time to break with the era of endless wars and shift away from institutions and industries that endanger our future.”

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Win Without War is a diverse network of activists and national organizations working for progressive foreign policy in the United States.