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Overspending Billions on the Pentagon Is a National Moral Failing – Lee-Pocan Bill Suggests $100 Billion Cut

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee, (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan, (D-Wis.) today introduced the People Over Pentagon Act of 2023, which would cut $100 billion from the annual Pentagon budget. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“Pentagon spending is wildly out of control – and now comes Reps. Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan to do something about it with the People Over Pentagon Act of 2023. The U.S. spends more than the next nine countries combined on its military. We spend roughly 10 times what Russia does on weapons and war.

“Avoidable Pentagon spending waste – identified by the Pentagon itself! – vastly exceeds the entire budgets of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration combined.

“In the most recent budget cycle, Congress threw $45 billion more at the Pentagon than the Pentagon itself requested. This unrequested increase in Pentagon spending is more than the annual cost to expand Medicare benefits to cover hearing, dental, and vision – a proposal abandoned on the grounds it cost too much.”

“The Pentagon relies heavily on private contractors to perform work that would otherwise be performed by civilians, or not at all, spiking overall costs. Curtailing service contracting by 15% would save enough money to fund President Joe Biden’s proposal for universal pre-K education – another initiative abandoned on the grounds that the nation couldn’t afford it.

“Virtually everywhere you look in the Pentagon budget, there’s waste and needless spending. The Pentagon’s F-35 jet is the department’s most expensive weapons system program and is expected to cost $1.7 trillion over its life – even though the aircraft does not yet operate correctly, the program is rife with delays and cost overruns, and the Government Accountability Office says a substantial number of the aircraft will be procured before they are proved to have reached an acceptable level of performance and reliability.

“Is it asking too much for a trillion-dollar program to insist on ‘an acceptable level of performance and reliability’ before it throws billions of taxpayer money at Lockheed Martin?

“The choice to spend so much on the military is equally a choice not to provide health care, invest in early education, address climate chaos, and more.

“The People Over Pentagon Act rejects the immoral and illogical inertia of more, more, more for the Pentagon.

“Instead, it says, it’s time to redirect some money away from weapons and waste to priority human needs.

“Thank you, Representatives Lee and Pocan, for introducing a dose of sanity and humanity to the Pentagon spending debate.”