After the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a massive spending package that includes $733 billion for the Pentagon—up from $716 billion the previous year—Rep. Rashida Tlaib slammed America's "out of control warfare budget" and said the U.S. should be investing more in programs that benefit the public, not massive defense contractors.
"We deserve better than to come second to for-profit defense spending that doesn't make our nation any safer."
—Rep. Rashida Tlaib
"These are huge checks being written to Boeing and Lockheed Martin, when we should be cutting checks to everyday people struggling to make ends meet," said Tlaib, one of just seven Democrats to vote against the trillion-dollar spending measure.
The other House Democrats who voted against the measure were Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Denny Heck (Wash.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), and Ben McAdams (Utah). View the full roll call here.
In a tweet following Wednesday's vote, Tlaib wrote, "Giving our military industrial complex another $733B windfall doesn't bring [Michigan's 13th congressional district] closer to economic opportunities we need."
"We deserve better than to come second to for-profit defense spending that doesn't make our nation any safer," the Michigan congresswoman wrote.
Giving our military industrial complex another $733B windfall doesn't bring #13thDistrictStrong closer to economic opportunities we need. We deserve better than to come second to for-profit defense spending that doesn't make our nation any safer. I voted no on #HR2740. pic.twitter.com/e89PbcELnX
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) June 19, 2019
While the $733 billion in military spending is less than the $750 billion President Donald Trump demanded in his 2020 budget request, progressives have pushed back against hiking the military budget without major increases in spending on education, healthcare, and other social programs.
According to the Washington Post, House Democrats' spending measure "boosts the Pentagon budget by about $16 billion over current levels, about a two percent increase, while giving health, education, and labor programs an almost seven percent boost."
Tlaib said the latter increase is far from sufficient, arguing that key social programs are being "robbed blind" while spending on the military soars.
As the Post's Jeff Stein and Aaron Gregg reported in April, "America's military budget is set to grow for a fifth consecutive year to near-historic highs in 2020."
Under either House Democrats' $733 billion Pentagon budget plan or Trump's $750 billion proposal, Stein and Gregg wrote, "the United States is expected to spend more on its military in 2020 than at any point since World War II, except for a handful of years at the height of the Iraq War."