Military Spending Is Out of Control; Money Should Be Used for Social Needs, Groups Say
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A coalition of organizations representing the #PeopleOverPentagon campaign today delivered more than 140,000 petition signatures to Congress calling for at least $200 billion of the outsized Pentagon budget to be cut and reinvested in urgent domestic and human needs priorities.
Attendees delivered the signatures to U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and spoke in support of the #PeopleOverPentagon agenda. Each organization explained its respective commitment to cutting the bloated Pentagon budget and detailed where it would like to see that funding reinvested, including in health care, education, social programs and infrastructure projects. Jayapal and Omar also spoke in support of reallocating the funds to social programs.
The groups included Public Citizen, Win Without War, Social Security Works, Beyond the Bomb, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Peace Action, CODEPINK, Friends of the Earth, Daily Kos, Peace Action, the United Church of Christ and the National Priorities Project. More than 25 organizations have endorsed the #PeopleOverPentagon agenda.
“Pentagon spending is, literally, out of control – and it is making America weaker, not stronger,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “It doesn’t reflect any reasonable assessment of national security threats, commonsense priority setting, acknowledgment of the extraordinary waste in the Pentagon budget or any kind of honest reckoning with the costs and benefits of an additional billion dollars for war-fighting. The result is that we are wasting hundreds of billions, fueling endless war and diverting money from other vital needs.”
“It is time that we turn off the firehose of taxpayer dollars that flows through the Pentagon into failed and unnecessary weapons systems and endless wars that undermine our national security,” said Nancy Parrish, executive director of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND). “Our Women Legislators’ Lobby members and WAND activists know that we cannot afford to continue increasing the Pentagon’s budget without limits or oversight and that continuing with the status quo presents a clear and present threat to the communities they serve.”
“The existential security challenges the U.S. faces today – from the deteriorating health of the planet and mass inequality, to the spread of nuclear weapons and materials – do not have military solutions,” said Kate Kizer, policy director at Win Without War. “Yet the only solution from Washington is throwing ever more money at an already bloated Pentagon budget. It’s time for Congress to move beyond buying more weapons for yesterday’s wars and invest in solutions to the true threats people here and everywhere face today.”
“The U.S. alone spends trillions of dollars on nuclear weapons, lining the pockets of warmongers and profiteers,” said Colleen Moore, digital engagement manager at Beyond the Bomb. “This is not only unnecessary and wasteful but is putting the American people at higher risk. These taxpayer dollars must be diverted to the things that matter most: health care, education, safety nets and the environment.”
“America is wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on endless wars and unnecessary weapons programs,” said William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy (CIP) and co-director of CIP’s Sustainable Defense Task Force. “The U.S. and the world would be far safer if we shifted funds from the Pentagon’s bloated budget to programs to address climate change and other urgent challenges that have been neglected as a result of our disastrous military-first foreign policy.”
“The U.S. military, as a singular institution, is the largest polluter and consumer of fossil fuels on the planet. As Washington wakes up to the climate crisis, it should recognize that a bloated military budget only furthers greenhouse gas emissions and the crisis we are facing,” said Gaurav Madan, senior forests and lands campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “Reduced military spending would allow for necessary investments in renewable energy, a just transition away from fossil fuels and support for communities at the front lines of climate disasters. Climate justice is as much about defending basic human rights as it is about protecting the planet. War always impacts the most vulnerable populations and de-funding the war economy is a necessary step toward building a healthy and just world.”
“We should be spending our nation’s enormous wealth on seniors, children, people with disabilities and others in need – not on yet more handouts to defense contractors,” said Alex Lawson, executive director at Social Security Works. “Currently, it seems we can’t afford programs that help people in this country, but when it comes to killing people in other countries there is unlimited money.”
“The United Church of Christ supports the work of the #PeopleOverPentagon campaign and echoes the call on Congress to find ways to cut what we see as excessive and often wasteful Pentagon spending in favor of programs that protect the poor and vulnerable,” said the Rev. Michael Neuroth at United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries. “As people of faith, and as a ‘Just Peace’ church, we see the federal budget as a moral document. At present, that budget document is grossly out of line with both faith values and American values. To move toward a future of greater peace and prosperity, we must call on Congress to bend more ‘swords into plowshares’ (Isaiah 2:4) and move us away from an economy that depends so heavily on militarization.”
“Military spending remains one of the most outrageously bloated parts of our nation’s budget. Putting hundreds of billions of dollars into wars and weapons is not only wasteful – it also results in a significant cost to human lives,” said Carolyn Fiddler, communications director at Daily Kos. “America’s resources would be much better used towards improving education, health care, and resources for children, the elderly and people with disabilities. Daily Kos calls on Congress to redirect funding to prioritize our domestic needs instead of investing in war.”