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'Inhumane at Any Time,' But During a Pandemic? House Approval of $740 Billion Pentagon Budget Condemned

"Once again, the House has voted to put the interests of weapons manufacturers and war hawks over the wellbeing of people here and abroad."

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over the Hudson River during a military flyover as part of July 4th celebrations on July 04, 2020 in New York City. (Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images)

Win Without War was among the anti-war voices on Friday issuing blistering condemnations of the passage in the U.S. House of a $740 billion defense bill as part of the 2021 Appropriations Minibus. 

"A $740 billion Pentagon budget is inhumane at any time," said the group's executive director, Stephen Miles. "In the midst of a pandemic—as people across the country struggle to make rent, to pay their bills, to survive a deadly disease—it should be unthinkable. Once again, the House has voted to put the interests of weapons manufacturers and war hawks over the wellbeing of people here and abroad."

The bill passed the House on Friday by a 217 to 197 margin, largely along party lines, with 16 members not voting. Only 12 Democrats voted against the measure while 217 voted in favor. All Republicans in the House either voted against the bill or did not vote. Read the full roll call here.

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The bill's passage came after a vigorous debate over recent weeks that included votes on whether to cut military spending by 10% and whether or not to allow the Pentagon to continue using video game streaming platforms to recruit impressionable children. Both measures failed. 

"Though last week's votes on whether or not to cut the Pentagon budget by ten percent were hopeful signs of the shifting tides on Pentagon spending, this Appropriations bill is a reminder that there remains much to be done," said Miles. "We are also disappointed that House Democrats have decided to once again couple passage of a bill that fuels militarism abroad with bills that fund our priorities at home, forfeiting the ability to challenge the former without undermining the latter."

Miles did point to what he called "bright spots" in the bill, including two provisions from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) that repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force and require congressional approval before going to war with Iran and an amendment from Rep. Jackie Spier (D-Calif.) banning the Department of Defense from using funds to impement a ban on transgender Americans in the military.  

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