Statement: House Dramatically Inflates Pentagon Topline, but Fight to Curb Sky-High Budget Continues

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Last Updated on July 13, 2022.

Washington Win Without War Government Relations Director Eric Eikenberry released the following statement regarding House votes on Reps. Lee and Pocan’s amendments 166 and 179 to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The former would have cut the Pentagon budget by $100 billion and fell 78-350; the latter would have cut the budget by $37 billion and fell 151-277. 

Today, news broke that inflation has risen to a 40-year-high, forcing people in the United States to pay more for basic necessities. Yet the House of Representatives responded by greenlighting at least $839 billion for the Pentagon as it debated H.R. 7900, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

Representatives again underscored our nation’s broken budget priorities by upholding this eye-popping topline number — twice. Two critically needed amendments offered by Reps. Lee and Pocan would have cut this outrageous amount, either by reducing the overall budget by $100 billion or, on a smaller scale, reversing the $36.987 billion increase that the House Armed Services Committee needlessly tacked on during the bill’s initial markup. 

Either would have been a welcome shift to a status quo that continues to think more weapons and more war will make us safe. Unfortunately, neither received enough votes to pass.

One bright spot is that a large group of representatives willing to push back on this status quo persists — reflecting clear polling that shows a majority of people in the United States agree that the Pentagon’s budget should be cut.

Right now, there is no shortage of urgent crises that our government must address. People across the country face crumbling infrastructure, critically underfunded schools, and a failing health care system — all while facing rising costs to pay for essential items like gasoline, food, and housing.

The harsh reality is that these billions weren’t simply given away to the Pentagon — they were taken from communities for whom even a fraction of these funds could have made a fundamental difference. Despite the outcome of today’s vote, it’s never too late for members of Congress to come to their senses and budget for our actual needs over weapons makers’ wants. 

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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.

July 13, 2022