Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) puts on a mask during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on April 23, 2020. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Time to 'Reinvest in People' and 'Cut Weapons of War': Barbara Lee Unveils Plan to Cut Up to $350 Billion From Pentagon

"Redundant nuclear weapons, off-books spending accounts, and endless wars in the Middle East don't keep us safe."

Jake Johnson

Demanding that Congress "prioritize our safety and our future, not more war," Rep. Barbara Lee on Monday unveiled a resolution proposing up to $350 billion in cuts to the Pentagon budget by closing U.S. military bases overseas, ending ongoing conflicts, scrapping weapons programs, and eliminating President Donald Trump's Space Force.

"Redundant nuclear weapons, off-books spending accounts, and endless wars in the Middle East don't keep us safe," the California Democrat said in a statement. "Especially at a time when families across the country are struggling to pay the bills—including more than 16,000 military families on food stamps—we need to take a hard look at every dollar and reinvest in people. It's time to cut weapons of war and prioritize the well-being of our troops, anti-poverty programs, public health initiatives, and diplomacy."

Lee's resolution (pdf) comes as the House of Representatives is scheduled to begin marking up the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2021 next week. The Senate version of the NDAA calls for $740.5 billion in military spending, a budget Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has proposed cutting by 10%.

"We cannot continue to prioritize funding for a department known for its waste, fraud, abuse, and failure to pass an audit," said Lee, "especially when the money to 'protect national security' is failing to protect our most vulnerable citizens."

The California Democrat's measure proposes saving:

  • $68 billion by eliminating the Overseas Contingency Operations account;
  • $90 billion by shuttering 60% of U.S. military bases overseas;
  • $66 billion by ending funding for ongoing U.S. wars;
  • $57.9 billion by eliminating "obsolete,  excessive, and dangerous" weapons;
  • $38 billion by cutting military overhead by 15%;
  • $26 billion by slashing private service contracting by 15%;
  • $2.6 billion by dashing Trump's Space Force proposal;
  • $18 billion by "ending use-it-or-lose-it contract spending";
  • $6 billion by freezing operations and maintenance budgets; and
  • $23 billion by cutting U.S. presence in Afghanistan in half.

"Congress supports moves to reduce the priority given to war in our foreign policy and our current war-based national economy by using significant cuts, up to $350,000,000,000 as detailed above, from current budget plans, while using the funds to increase our diplomatic capacity and for domestic programs that will keep our Nation and our people safer," the resolution reads.

Lee's office noted in a press release that the Pentagon's budget for fiscal year 2020—$738 billion—was the "largest on record" and came "at the expense of healthcare, education, infrastructure spending, and public health research."

"For years, our government has failed to invest in programs that actually keep our country safe and healthy," said Lee. "By over-prioritizing the Pentagon and military solutions, our country is drastically underprepared for any crisis that needs a non-military solution."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

As Other States Try to Copy Texas, SCOTUS Asked to Find Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

The request from healthcare providers comes after a Florida Republican filed a copycat bill and advocacy groups called on Congress to affirm the right to abortion nationwide.

Jessica Corbett ·


As Bids to Slash Pentagon Budget Fail, US Military Spending Slammed as 'Height of Absurdity'

"Spending $780 billion on weapons and war while our communities starve, while the climate crisis worsens, while a pandemic that has killed millions and affected countless more rages on, is a national shame."

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is Big': House Passes Amendment to Cut US Complicity in Saudi Bombing of Yemen

The vote, said Rep. Ro Khanna, "sent a clear message to the Saudis: end the bombing in Yemen and lift the blockade."

Andrea Germanos ·


Praised for 'Braving the Smears,' Tlaib Votes Against $1 Billion in Military Aid to Israel

One rights group thanked Tlaib "for speaking truth to power" while being attacked "for simply insisting that Palestinians are human beings who deserve safety, security, and freedom from Israeli apartheid."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Choice Point for Humanity': Women Demand Visionary Shift at UN Climate Talks

"This is the time to unite together to build the healthy and just future we know is possible for each other and the Earth."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo