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Beginning of the End of the Military-Industrial Complex’s Vise Grip on Congress

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: The U.S. House of Representatives today voted on Amendment 9 to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) championed by U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), which would have cut the Pentagon’s budget by 10%. The amendment failed 93-324, the closest margin to date on a vote to significantly cut Pentagon spending.

Today’s historic vote in the U.S. House marks the beginning of the end of the military-industrial complex’s vise grip on Congress.

The nation cannot continue to afford to throw three quarters of a trillion dollars at the Pentagon every year – not when the Pentagon can’t pass an audit, not when the coronavirus reveals that Pentagon spending leaves us unprepared to address genuine national security threats, not when so much money is wasted and siphoned off by overpriced, politically connected contractors –  not when the people of the U.S. and the world have so many pressing, unmet needs.

Increasingly, the American people are demanding that Congress respond to these common-sense observations. By a 2-1 margin, the American people favor cutting the Pentagon budget by 10% and redirecting the money to priority needs. Today’s watershed vote signals that the Congress is beginning to get the message and will continue to mobilize. The era of endlessly rising spending on militarism is coming to an end.

This is the first time in recent decades that the Congress has seriously considered a cut to the Pentagon budget. It won’t be the last. Against the backdrop of constant increases in Pentagon spending over the last two decades, the strong showing today for a modest 10% cut to the Pentagon budget augurs a fundamental change in spending policy that is long overdue and soon to come.