Military Spending Is Out of Control; Money Should Be Used for Social Needs, Groups Say
WASHINGTON — Today, a coalition of organizations representing the #PeopleOverPentagon campaign delivered more than 140,000 petition signatures to Congress calling for at least $200 billion of the outsized Pentagon budget to be cut and reinvested in urgent domestic and human needs priorities.
The groups in attendance included Public Citizen, Win Without War, Social Security Works, Beyond the Bomb, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Peace Action, CODEPINK, Friends of the Earth, Daily Kos, Peace Action, the United Church of Christ, and the National Priorities Project. There are more than 25 organizations who have endorsed the #PeopleOverPentagon agenda.
Attendees delivered the signatures to Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and spoke in support of the People Over Pentagon agenda. Each organization explained their respective commitment to cutting at least $200 billion per year from the bloated Pentagon budget, and detailed where they would like to see that funding reinvested, including in healthcare, education, social programs, and infrastructure projects. Representatives Jayapal and Omar also spoke in support of reallocating the sky-high Pentagon budget to address human needs.
Nancy Parrish, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND):
“It is time that we turn off the firehose of taxpayer dollars that flows through the Pentagon into failed and unnecessary weapons systems and endless wars that undermine our national security. Our Women Legislators’ Lobby members and WAND activists know that we cannot afford to continue increasing the Pentagon’s budget without limits or oversight and that continuing with the status quo presents a clear and present threat to the communities they serve.”
Kate Kizer, Policy Director at Win Without War:
“The existential security challenges the United States face today – from the deteriorating health of the planet and mass inequality, to the spread of nuclear weapons and materials – do not have military solutions. Yet the only solution from Washington is throwing ever more money at an already bloated Pentagon budget. It’s time for Congress to move beyond buying more weapons for yesterday’s wars and invest in solutions to the true threats people here and everywhere face today.”
Colleen Moore, Digital Engagement Manager, Beyond the Bomb:
“The U.S. alone spends trillions of dollars on nuclear weapons, lining the pockets of warmongers and profiteers. This is not only unnecessary and wasteful, but is putting the American people at higher risk. These taxpayer dollars must be diverted to the things that matter most: healthcare, education, safety nets and the environment.”
William D. Hartung, Director, Arms and Security Project, Center for International Policy (CIP), and co-director of CIP’s Sustainable Defense Task Force:
“America is wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on endless wars and unnecessary weapons programs. The United States and the world would be far safer if we shifted funds from the Pentagon’s bloated budget to programs to address climate change and other urgent challenges that have been neglected as a result of our disastrous military-first foreign policy.”
Gaurav Madan, Senior Forests and Lands Campaigner at Friends of the Earth:
“The US military, as a singular institution, is the largest polluter and consumer of fossil fuels on the planet. As Washington wakes up to the climate crisis, it should recognize that a bloated military budget only furthers greenhouse gas emissions and the crisis we are facing. Reduced military spending would allow for necessary investments in renewable energy, a just transition away from fossil fuels, and support for communities at the frontlines of climate disasters. Climate justice is as much about defending basic human rights as it is about protecting the planet. War always impacts the most vulnerable populations and de-funding the war economy is a necessary step toward building a healthy and just world.”
Alex Lawson, Executive Director, Social Security Works:
“We should be spending our nation’s enormous wealth on seniors, children, people with disabilities, and others in need — not on yet more handouts to defense contractors. Currently, it seems we can’t afford programs that help people in this country, but when it comes to killing people in other countries there is unlimited money.”
Rev. Michael Neuroth, United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries:
“The United Church of Christ supports the work of the #PeopleOverPentagon campaign and echoes the call on congress find ways to cut what we see as excessive and often wasteful Pentagon spending in favor of programs that protect the poor and vulnerable. As people of faith, and as a ‘Just Peace’ church, we see the federal budget as a moral document. At present, that budget document is grossly out of line with both faith values and American values. To move toward a future of greater peace and prosperity, we must call on Congress to bend more ‘swords into plowshares’ (Isaiah 2:4) and move us away from an economy that depends so heavily on militarization.”
Carolyn Fiddler, Communications Director at Daily Kos:
“Military spending remains one of the most outrageously bloated parts of our nation’s budget. Putting hundreds of billions of dollars into wars and weapons is not only wasteful — it also results in a significant cost to human lives. America’s resources would be much better used towards improving education, healthcare, and resources for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Daily Kos calls on Congress to redirect funding to prioritize our domestic needs instead of investing in war.”
Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen:
“Pentagon spending is, literally, out of control – and it is making America weaker, not stronger.
It doesn’t reflect any reasonable assessment of national security threats, commonsense priority setting, acknowledgment of the extraordinary waste in the Pentagon budget or any kind of honest reckoning with the costs and benefits of an additional billion dollars for war-fighting. The result is that we are wasting hundreds of billions of dollars, fueling endless war and diverting money from other vital needs.”