The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Melissa Garriga

Money for the Poor, Not For War: CODEPINK Statement on Biden’s Defense Budget Proposal

Yesterday, the Pentagon released its defense budget request for FY2024. The Department of Defense is requesting $842 billion, $26 billion more than FY2023, bringing Biden’s topline “defense” budget request to a whopping $886 billion. This follows the bipartisan tradition of inflating military spending and divesting from the needs of the people. The Pentagon lists “defending” the United States from the People’s Republic of China at the top of its priorities.

The Pentagon’s budget request includes:

  • $37.7 billion for Nuclear Enterprise Modernization, including $5.3 billion to Northrop Grumman for their B-21 stealth bomber.
  • $11.0 billion for hypersonic and other offensive missiles
  • $146.0 billion for force “readiness”
  • $30.6 billion for munitions

This budget request is NOT about national defense. It is about sustaining a war economy that only benefits the corrupt and immoral while leaving:

  • 550,000+ unhoused people in the U.S.
  • 1 in 10 adults in “significant” medical debt
  • $1.75 trillion in student debt
  • 16.9 % child poverty rate
  • 63% of people in the US living paycheck to paycheck
  • 65% of our discretionary dollars go to the militarized budget

While constituents live paycheck to paycheck and drown in debt, Congress will debate, change, and likely inflate the budget request that Biden and the Pentagon submitted as we move into the spring and summer. In recent years over half of the defense budget went to private companies like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics and others. The current Secretary of Defense used to be on the board of Raytheon before he joined President Biden’s cabinet, and many other people who will affect the budget receive campaign contributions from those companies.

President Biden's overall 2024 budget does have some positive proposals like restoring the Child Tax Credit, investing in clean energy projects, and cleaning up nuclear waste sites. However, the likelihood of passing the tax reform needed as well as the policies themselves seems very unlikely as congressional Democrats couldn't even pass the Build Back Better legislation when they had more control in 2021. What will pass - what always passes no matter who is in the White House and what majority fills the halls of Congress - is the defense budget. Any domestic policy being dangled to the public by the Democrats is meaningless while they still support the ever-growing and immoral defense budget.

War only seems like common sense to the people who get rich from legislating it. That’s why they vote for arms deals, support for overseas wars, and massive Pentagon budgets.

If common sense were to prevail, President Biden would listen to people like Barbara Lee and cut the Pentagon budget and instruct Congress to use those resources to address the climate crisis. They would invest in infrastructure and education, free healthcare so our illnesses can’t be turned around for profit. They would provide student and medical debt relief and make sure everyone has a roof over their head. They would take care of human needs, not the war machine.

The people know what we want, and it’s not endless war.

CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.

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