Statement: Win Without War Celebrates Progressive Victories Within Massive Defense Spending Bill
Last Updated on June 20, 2019.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, June 20, 2019
CONTACT: Ben Armbruster, [email protected]
WASHINGTON, DC — Win Without War Executive Director Stephen Miles released the following statement in response to final passage of H.R. 2740, the four-bill spending package that included measures on foreign policy and defense:
“We remain disappointed that House Democrats chose to continue overflowing the Pentagon’s coffers with a historically high topline of $733 billion rather than making sensible cuts and allowing for a real debate on our nation’s budget priorities. Nonetheless, we are heartened to see so many policy victories on war and peace come out of this legislation.
“For the first time in 18 years, the House has voted to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, a step Congress should have taken long ago. It is unconscionable that we send our servicemembers to fight and die in wars that most current Members of Congress have never voted on. Fortunately, this legislation changes that. The 2001 AUMF repeal is also an important step given the Trump administration’s attempts to lay the groundwork for invoking it to attack Iran.
“In addition, the bill continues Congress’s support for ending U.S. support for the Saudi- and Emirati-led war in Yemen as well as blocking President Trump’s move to bypass Congress and continue arms sales to these countries, despite their use in killing civilians in Yemen. This comes at the same time the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) released new data showing that the death toll in Yemen exceeds 90,000 people and that, “[s]ince 2015, the Saudi-led coalition and its allies are responsible for over 8,000 of the approximately 11,700 fatalities reported in connection with direct targeting of civilians in Yemen.
“Importantly, the bill also includes language stopping implementation of President Trump’s hateful and discriminatory ban on transgender servicemembers and blocks using funds for the Army Corp of Engineers to build his racist and bigoted border wall. In addition, it bars the deployment of President Trump’s dangerous new nuclear weapon, which his administration wants because it is seen as more usable. The Trump administration and the military under him have taken an especially permissive view with regard to use of the world’s most dangerous weapons.
“These strong provisions — passed under the Democratically-controlled House — are a big step in the right direction. Although it remains unclear whether the House and Senate will be able to agree on fiscal year 2020 spending legislation, we are hopeful that this is a sign of things to come.”
Win Without War is a diverse network of activists and national organizations working for progressive foreign policy in the United States.