Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Sean Ryan (Lee),, 202-713-7385

Usamah Andrabi (Pocan),, 832-878-4839

Press Release

Reps. Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan Statement on House Vote for 10% Cut to Pentagon Budget 


Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13), a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today released a statement on the House’s vote on their amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would cut the pentagon budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. 

Since the beginning of the Trump Administration, defense spending has increased every year—over $100 billion, almost 20%, in three years. Military spending now represents more than half of all federal discretionary spending. This proposal, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would take

$74 billion in annual savings from the Pentagon—exempting salaries and health care—to create a domestic federal grant program to fund health care, housing, childcare and educational opportunities for cities and towns experiencing a poverty rate of 25% or more. 

“We can’t keep pouring billions into the military while we face a public health crisis and families struggle to make ends meet. Our fight against this global pandemic has not only put a strain on our economy, but has demanded increased investment in human needs,” said Congresswoman Lee. “There is a laundry list

of ways we can better invest in America’s needs rather than feed into the military industrial complex. The hundreds of billions of dollars we spend on senseless, outdated war preparation can be better spent on healthcare, schools, and infrastructure, at the least. This amendment would have been a crucial first step in rebalancing our priorities, to build a safer, peaceful, prosperous world, at home and abroad. We must keep up the fight.”  

“A $740 defense budget is a failure,” said Congressman Pocan. “A $74 billion cut to the defense budget would have been a modest reduction to a bloated budget filled with administrative waste and Pentagon slush funds. The American people need Congress to make an investment in their needs—in healthcare, housing and education—not another quarter of a trillion dollar giveaway to defense contractors. Our fight to reprioritize our budget is far from over, and until the federal budget reflects the needs of the American people, we will keep fighting.”

According to Data for Progress’ most recent poll, the majority of American voters want us to put their needs over the profits of Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing. Fifty-six percent of voters support cutting the defense budget by 10 percent to pay for priorities like fighting the coronavirus, education, healthcare & housing—including 50 percent of Republicans. Fifty-seven percent of voters supported cutting the defense budget by 10 percent if funding was reallocated to the CDC and other more pressing domestic needs. Only 25 percent of people opposed the cut, that means more than twice as many people support an over $70 billion cut to our defense budget than don’t, a 2:1 ratio. 

The amendment to the NDAA did not pass in the House, but received 93 votes in support.


Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a Democrat, represents the 13th District in California.

Historic Offshore Wind Lease Sale in California Gets Over $750 Million in Winning Bids

"If we build on today's forward momentum, the United States can dramatically reduce its global warming emissions and become a global leader in renewable energy technologies like deep-water offshore wind."

Brett Wilkins ·

Solidarity Fund Up and Running for Designer Behind Iconic Bernie Sanders Posters

Tyler Evans "has dedicated his life to the progressive movement," says the GoFundMe created for the hospitalized designer. "Now it's our time to have Tyler's back when he and his family need it most."

Jessica Corbett ·

Journalism Defenders Push for Passage of 'Game-Changing' PRESS Act

"The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs," explained one advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·

New York Times Union Workers Planning Dec. 8 Walkout, Rally Over Pay

"Our collective action is working: Management backed off its attempt to kill our pension and agreed to expand fertility benefits," the union said of ongoing talks. "But management still barely budged on some of our most important priorities."

Jessica Corbett ·

Dems Back Blue Dog Spanberger for Swing District Post Over Progressive Cartwright

The corporate Democrat's path to victory was "pretty simple," said one progressive. "Matt Cartwright supports Medicare for All and Spanberger is a former CIA agent who spends all her time punching left."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo