Anti-war groups vowed to keep fighting to slash the bloated Pentagon budget after the House of Representatives on Tuesday rejected a proposal to cut U.S. military spending by 10% and invest the savings in housing, healthcare, and education in poor communities.
The final vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amendment sponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) was 93-324, with 139 Democrats joining 185 Republicans in voting no. The failure of the Lee-Pocan amendment means the final version of the House NDAA will propose a $740.5 military budget for fiscal year 2021, a more than $2 billion increase from the previous year.
"Ninety-three members of Congress stood together to oppose a bloated $740 billion defense budget," Pocan, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted following the vote. "Though our amendment didn't pass, progressive power is stronger than ever. We will keep fighting for pro-peace, pro-people budgets until it becomes a reality."
The Senate is expected to vote later Tuesday on a companion to the Lee-Pocan amendment sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
While voicing disappointment in the amendment's defeat, Win Without War tweeted that just a few years ago it "would have been unthinkable" for 93 members of Congress to vote in favor of a 10% cut to the Pentagon budget.
"If we keep up this momentum, there's no doubt: change is coming," the group said.
While it didn't pass, this would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. If we keep up this momentum, there's no doubt: change is coming pic.twitter.com/2zZl2u3wqB
— Win Without War (@WinWithoutWar) July 21, 2020
Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs at Peace Action, said in a statement that "more representatives voted today for the largest reduction in Pentagon spending than in recent history."
"Congress still needs to catch up with the will and needs of the electorate, where over half want to see reductions in the bloated Pentagon to pay for other priorities," said Martin. "The main threats to America's security, like the global health pandemic and economic crisis, have no military solution. Right now, Congress must prioritize our spending on helping Americans during this pandemic."