Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Note: The U.S. Senate today voted on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) proposed by U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.,) which would have cut the Pentagon’s budget by 10%. The amendment failed 23-77.
Today’s Senate vote to cut the Pentagon budget by 10% and reinvest that funding into the needs of distressed communities in the U.S. is another significant stride towards dismantling the U.S. military-industrial complex. While the proposal failed to pass, it is a clear indication that the days of unchecked Pentagon spending are coming to an end.
After more than nineteen years of continuous war and overseas occupations, Americans demand a shift in national priorities. By a 2:1 margin, U.S. voters overwhelmingly prefer national leadership that is willing to put people over the Pentagon. The mere fact that a $74 billion cut proposal made it to both the U.S. House and the Senate floor for a full vote this week is unprecedented. That it received such strong support would have been unimaginable even a year ago. It is a tell-tale sign of a rising and unstoppable public demand that Congress escape from the clutches of the military-industrial complex, end wasteful and harmful Pentagon spending and redirect spending to America’s priority needs.
A safe, secure and dignified future for all Americans will not be bought by flushing taxpayer dollars through a hyper-militarized profit machine. Americans are instead demanding investments to end poverty, protect public health, educate our children and upgrade our infrastructure, in order to address real crises of the 21st century like climate change, pandemics and sky-high economic inequality.