Forever Wars Jake Johnson Military Politics

Lee, Pocan File Amendment to Slash $100 Billion From US Military Budget

"For far too long, this country has put profits ahead of its people," said Rep. Barbara Lee. "Nowhere is that more apparent than in our Pentagon topline budget."
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) speaks at Go Bigger on Climate, Care, and Justice event on July 20, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Shannon Finney/Getty Images for Green New Deal Network)

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

Reps. Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan led a group of House Democrats this week in filing amendments that would slash current U.S. military spending by $100 billion and reverse recent efforts to add more money to President Joe Biden’s historically high Pentagon budget request for the coming fiscal year.

The proposed amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 were introduced days after lawmakers on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees—both controlled by Democrats—voted to pile $37 billion and $45 billion, respectively, onto Biden’s March request for $813 billion in military spending.

One of more than 1,000 amendments filed for the House version of the NDAA, the Lee-Pocan proposal to cut $100 billion from the current U.S. military spending topline of $782 billion points to a recent Congressional Budget Office study outlining several ways in which Congress could reasonably slice $1 trillion—or 14%—from the Pentagon budget over the next decade.

Lee and Pocan, the co-chairs of the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus, have repeatedly attempted to rein in U.S. military spending in recent years, but their efforts have been blocked by Republicans and members of their own party—some of whom are financed by weapons makers.

Last month, the pair introduced legislation that would take $100 billion from the U.S. military budget and redirect the funds to pressing domestic needs such as housing and healthcare.

“For far too long, this country has put profits ahead of its people,” Lee said. “Nowhere is that more apparent than in our Pentagon topline budget. Just last year, key priorities like Build Back Better were left on the negotiating table, while Congress approved a $782 billion defense budget—higher than the military even requested.”

“It is time that we realign our priorities to reflect the urgent needs of communities across this country that are healing from a pandemic, ongoing economic insecurity, and an international energy crisis—none of which will be resolved through greater military spending,” Lee added. “Taking this step to downsize our military budget by $100 billion will ensure that our national security truly centers on the American people, not weapons industry profits.”

Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), and Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) are backing the Lee-Pocan NDAA amendment to reduce the current military spending topline by $100 billion.

Lee also introduced an amendment that would repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) Against Iraq, which—following its original passage ahead of the catastrophic Iraq invasion—was used as legal cover by the Obama and Trump administrations to take deadly action overseas.

In 2020, for instance, the Trump administration invoked the 2002 AUMF to claim it was authorized to assassinate Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a decision that nearly sparked a full-blown war between the U.S. and Iran.

Jake Johnson
Jake Johnson

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

7 comments

  1. Routine election year Dem Party “promises” to the more fortunate, those still employed. Not a penny for restoring basic human rights (UN’s UDHR) to food and shelter for those left jobless. Biden also called for an additional $800 million for his war in Ukraine. Dem Party priorities.

    1. Exactly. These frauds ALL voted to send 50 billion to Ukraine, and I’m sure more is forthcoming. Just another Hollywood stunt from the “progressives” in a rightwing Party that is utterly prowar.

  2. Barbara Lee for Pres.! 😀

    But, not to worry – all those D Reps who voted NO for reduction of Def budget – we will be told to vote for because we gotta “Vote Blue, no matter Who”

    So why all this fuss about Congr “bribes” – doesn’t matter – if they’re Blue, ya gotta vote for ’em, anyway, no matter how corrupt they are – or, shudder, shudder, you will get a Rep.! Oh me Gawd! Because of course you can’t vote for 3rd Party candidate – tch, tch, tch – that would get in the way of your corrupt D getting elected ..
    Simple, ain’t it …

    1. Agree! I read about her before, the only vote that stood against. There should be a song or something about Barbara Lee.

  3. Like I said on another post, this is the failing attempts of a dying empire to keep/gain control of the world and its resources. So proud of South America and some of their opposition to being puppets to not us every day Americans, but us bamboozled and uninformed ones who have never understood what the CIA does and why JFK was murdered, along with MLK or Fred Hampton. And of course there is willful ignorance throughout the investment class. All they seem to like is their stocks making money but not the cost in human or environmental life. At a women’s march in Seattle not too long ago, I held a sign that said “Check the blood on your stock portfolios.” One man came up to me and was truthful enough to say, “I dare not.”
    Truth is, we’ve been a racist/fascist country since white feet touched the sands of this country. It is in our DNA and we need to fight it because we have a world to win and a future to win for our children and grandchildren even if they seem kinda shell shocked at time.

  4. $100 billion is good…as a start. I would say the budget cuts for the military should be in the hundreds of billions, at least 50% of the current budget. Of course, not a dollar will be cut, as most in Congress are paid by the makers and providers of weapons and associated services that feed our war machine to keep our tax monies flowing to them.

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