Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"In a moment of pandemic and urgent protest, we refuse to let Congress put defense contractors over peoples' needs," said Win Without War. (Image: Win Without War)

'Choose People Over Pentagon': Americans Urged to Call Lawmakers as Congress Set to Vote on 10% Military Budget Cut

"In a moment of pandemic and urgent protest, we refuse to let Congress put defense contractors over peoples' needs"

Jake Johnson

With the House and Senate both expected to vote Tuesday on a popular proposal to cut the U.S. military budget by 10% and invest the savings in programs to help impoverished communities, anti-war advocacy groups urged Americans to immediately call their representatives and demand they choose "people over Pentagon" by voting yes.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2021 calls for a $74 billion cut to the bill's proposed $740.5 billion military budget. The proposal is co-sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in the Senate and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) in the House.

"In a moment of pandemic and urgent protest, we refuse to let Congress put defense contractors over peoples' needs," Win Without War said Tuesday. "Your senators need to hear from you—we won't allow them to continue funding the Pentagon's destructive militarism over our communities any longer."

In a letter (pdf) to members of the House on Monday, Win Without War and nearly 30 other organizations urged passage of the Lee-Pocan amendment.

"The Covid-19 pandemic makes clear that for too long, we have invested in the wrong priorities and tools to achieve true security for all the people of this nation," the letter reads.

New polling released Monday by Data for Progress, a progressive think tank and policy shop,  showed that 56% of American voters support slashing the Pentagon budget by 10% in order to help "pay for other needs like fighting the coronavirus, education, healthcare, and housing."

In a speech in support of his amendment on the House floor Monday, Pocan—co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC)—said the U.S. has "not kept up with our needs like healthcare, education, and, of course, fighting the coronavirus." On Sunday, the 95-member CPC announced it will formally oppose the NDAA if the proposed $740.5 in military spending is not reduced.

"We are literally flushing money down a drain—and I mean literally," said Pocan. "Due to the design flaw in the new $13 billion Ford-class aircraft carrier, we are spending $400,000 on specialized acids every time we have to flush and unclog the toilets. I'm not making this up."

It is unclear whether the amendment will receive adequate support to pass either the Democrat-controlled House or the Republican-controlled Senate. According to a running list compiled by Win Without War, just four senators and 33 members of the House have committed to voting yes on the proposal.

Earlier this month, as Common Dreams reported, advocacy groups urged other senators to follow suit after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his support for the Sanders-Markey amendment. But Schumer was the last senator to publicly endorse the proposal.

A coalition of 61 progressive advocacy groups representing millions of people across the U.S. sent letters to senators last month urging passage of the Sanders-Markey amendment, writing that "our militarism budget is out of control."

"My Senate colleagues have a fundamental choice," Sanders tweeted Monday. "Vote to spend more money on endless wars while failing to provide economic security to millions of Americans. Or vote to spend less on weapons and cost overruns, and more to rebuild struggling communities in their home states."

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

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Docs Show DHS Watchdog Delayed Telling Congress About Deleted Secret Service Texts

The Project on Government Oversight says the records reveal a pattern of Inspector General Joseph Cuffari "rejecting proposals to inform Congress about the Secret Service's resistance to oversight."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Dictatorship Never Again': Massive Pro-Democracy Protests Sweep Brazil

"Democracy involves changing the government and eliminating neo-fascism," said one prominent protester, "but above all, ensuring that the working class, the people, have the rights guaranteed in the Constitution."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Door to Real Progress': Jayapal Makes Case for House Passage of the IRA

"It's an achievement we can all feel excited about—especially when we dig into the details," said the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Julia Conley ·

Officers Kill Gunman Who Tried to Breach FBI Office in Ohio

Though the suspect's identity and potential motivations are not known, the attack follows fear of far-right retaliation for this week's federal search of former President Donald Trump's home.

Jessica Corbett ·

House Dems Urge Biden to Provide Assistance to Cuba Amid Fire Disaster

"Now is the time," said Reps. Barbara Lee, Jim McGovern, and Gregory Meeks, to "prioritize humanitarian engagement, environmental protection, and regional cooperation."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo