On September 1st, the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee backed a proposal to increase military spending for the Department of Defense by $25 Billion. That total was more than the Biden Administration had requested of $715 Billion. The vote was 42 to 17 which passed in the Senate.
Many have been raising the issue of how the US could increase the military budget while the needs within our communities grow. The number of groups opposing the military budget has been encouraging. There were close to 50 organizations that signed on to a recommendation to decrease military spending. Barbara Lee, the legislator who voted against the war with Afghanistan, proposed to cut military spending by $25 Billion to align with the presidential request. This request would be less than at the height of the wars in Korea and Vietnam and the build up in arms during the Reagan Administration.
The current Department of Defense budget is $37.5 Billion more than last year. There have been calls to reduce the military budget by 10% in order to redirect those funds to human needs. William Hartung recently wrote “If we’re concerned about making America and the world safer, we should be investing more funds in addressing pandemics, climate change, and racial and economic injustice—not buying weapons we don’t need at prices we can’t afford,” he said, calling the vote “good news for Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and other big weapons contractors and bad news for the American public.”
The SPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Center) recently reported that the Democrats who voted against the 10% funding decrease for the military had received on average 3.7 times more money from defense contractors than those who voted against. It seems that the money from funders may have influenced their vote and it seems that those who voted against funding military bloat could use our support as well as those who voted to reject the 1033 program that gives military surplus to police departments.
Recently, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) pushed back against the narrative that cutting Pentagon spending would make Americans less safe, emphasizing how easy it would be to find the funds.”The Pentagon could save almost $58 billion by eliminating obsolete weapons, weapons like Cold War-era bombers and missiles designed and built in the last century that are completely unsuitable for this one,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “We could find another $18 billion by simply preventing the end-of-year spending sprees that lead to contract money being shoveled out the door every September,” she added, echoing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) observation earlier this week that the Pentagon—which has never passed an audit—is inherently susceptible to fraud.”
On a recent webinar, someone stated how they pulled up a seat at the TV on September 1st to watch details of the Defense Authorization Act on C-Span. While it seems important to stay abreast of developments of military spending, it seems all the more important to take action.
The words of Barbara Jordan from Texas come to mind, “The stakes… are too high for government to be a spectator sport.” I am encouraged to think of all the war tax resisters finding ways to bypass the government; say enough is enough!
Post by Chrissy Kirchhoefer