Progress on Pentagon Cuts Must Continue

Sept. 23, 2021

Two votes on cuts to the Pentagon budget today showed more members of Congress are willing to take a stand against a bloated Pentagon budget that has fueled endless wars and obscene profits for military contractors. 

The first, introduced by Representative Mark Pocan, would have cut 10% from the Pentagon budget (while leaving troops’ pay and health benefits untouched), and received a vote of 86-332. The second, introduced by Representative Barbara Lee, would have reversed a $23.9 billion Pentagon increase approved by the House Armed Services Committee, and received a vote of 142-286.

The support the two amendments received would have been unthinkable a mere few years ago. This progress must continue if members of Congress are going to catch up to the people of the United States, a majority of whom support cuts to the Pentagon budget to support reinvestment in people and communities at home. 

“Pentagon spending has enabled disastrous wars and windfalls for military contractors, alongside widespread neglect of progress and investment here at home,” said Lindsay Koshgarian, Program Director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. “With a pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 1 in 500 Americans, and with nearly 1 in 3 of us having lived through a climate-related weather disaster this summer alone, it’s dangerously out of touch to continue funding the Pentagon at current levels. Our biggest problems can’t be solved by more ships, planes, or missiles.”

The National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies recently released a report showing that over the past twenty years, the United States has spent more than $21 trillion on war and militarism, including the war on terror and the militarization of our southern border and immigration systems. Of that, $14 trillion was for the Department of Defense, and more than half of that ($7 trillion) went to for-profit military contractors. 

“Corporations have driven our national security policy for long enough. We’ll continue to look to members of Congress to do what’s right for the people of this country and invest in communities, not war and money-guzzling corporations,” said Koshgarian.