Last Updated on May 7, 2019.
For Immediate Release: Monday, April 8, 2019
Contact: Ben Armbruster, 202-247-7133, [email protected]
Left-Right Coalition Asks House To Oppose Massive Pentagon Budget Increase
WASHINGTON — More than a dozen progressive and conservative groups — including MoveOn, Indivisible, Win Without War, and Freedom Works — on Monday joined forces in calling on the House to oppose a budget bill that will give the Pentagon $733 billion.
“The failed audit, the continued drumbeat of reports of Pentagon waste, inefficiencies and mismanagement, and poll after poll after poll demonstrate that it is not in the interest of Americans for Congress to infuse massive amounts of new money into the Pentagon,” they write in a letter sent to Capitol Hill.
The letter builds on a joint statement last week from CREDO Action, Indivisible, MoveOn, and Win Without War calling on House Democrats to re-work the bill to address the Pentagon over-spending, as well as an earlier transpartisan coalition letter to Congress from 17 groups calling on Congress to hold defense spending at or below $576 billion.
See the text and full list of signers below.
Win Without War is a diverse network of activists and national organizations working for progressive foreign policy in the United States.
Left-Right Statement to the U.S. House of Representatives: Vote “No” on Pentagon Increase in House Democratic Budget Caps Bill (H.R. 2021)
April 8, 2019
We are writing as a coalition of groups on the left and the right to urge Members of Congress to vote “no” on H.R. 2021, Investing for the People Act of 2019, when it comes to the floor for a vote this week. The bill would approve a budget deal that provides for Pentagon spending of up to $733 billion in fiscal year 2020, an increase of $157 billion over the existing defense spending cap ($576 billion) for the year.1 The $733 billion Pentagon budget topline in H.R. 2021 includes up to $69 billion in the plagued “slush fund” account known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund.
While lower than the President’s request for $750 billion, which has been reported as a “negotiating tactic” to ensure the most Pentagon spending, this level of Pentagon increase remains unacceptable and unwise — even, to borrow the President’s words, “crazy.”2 Armed Services Chair Adam Smith himself questioned the justification for $733 billion as the “magic” number for the Pentagon topline when the idea was first floated last year, joining a line of defense experts concerned about unsustainable, unaccountable, arbitrarily sky-high Pentagon budgeting.3The failed audit, the continued drumbeat of reports of Pentagon waste, inefficiencies and mismanagement,4 and poll after poll after poll5 demonstrate that it is not in the interest of Americans for Congress to infuse massive amounts of new money into the Pentagon. It is urgent that Congress reject the unnecessary Pentagon increase in H.R. 2021.
Center for International Policy
Coalition to Reduce Spending
Council for a Livable World
National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
National Taxpayers Union
Project On Government Oversight
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)
1 Congressional Research Service, “The Defense Budget and the Budget Control Act: Frequently Asked Questions,” 3/18 (page 5)
2 Politico, “Trump reverses course, tells Pentagon to boost budget request to $750 billion,” 12/9/18; @realDonaldTrump via Twitter, 12/3/18
3 Adam Smith via Reuters, “U.S. lawmaker hit backs at Pentagon argument for bigger budget,” 12/12/18. Ben Freeman and William D. Hartung, “Less war, more spending: The flawed logic of Pentagon budget boosters,” 1/24/19; Bonnie Kristian, “The Pentagon’s Serial Waste and Shoddy Accounting Don’t Preclude It From Getting More Money, Apparently,” 12/11/18; Danny Davis, “Pentagon budget increase will lead to a ‘major economic disaster,’ says retired US Army officer,” 2/20/18
4 New York Times Editorial Board, “The Pentagon Doesn’t Know Where Its Money Goes,” 12/9/18; Institute for Spending Reform, “Guide for a Strong America”; Rolling Stone, “How To Blow $700 Billion,” 3/20/19
5 AP-NORC, “Americans Are Dissatisfied with the Government’s Spending Priorities,” 2018; Gallup News, “Demand Wanes for Higher Defense Spending,” 3/12/19; Eurasia Group Foundation, “Worlds Apart: U.S. Foreign Policy and Public Opinion,” 2/19; University of Maryland Program for Public Consultation/Voice of the People, “Majorities of Republican and Democratic Voters Agree on $128 Billion in Deficit Reduction, Raising Revenue and Cutting Spending,” 7/31/18; Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute via Military Times, “Survey finds strong support for military members, less support for military funding,” 12/1/18
April 8, 2019