As a nation, we have the resources and imagination to make a valuable contribution to the survival of the planet and the well-being of the world's people. Instead, the U.S. spends hundreds of billions of dollars each year on killing and war.
Budgets are moral documents. They state in concrete terms where the country's priorities lie. An expensive military buildup at the cost of life saving domestic programs is not only bad policy, but constitutes a challenge to our fundamental values.
The Pentagon already spends $600 billion annually. However, a new political climate could create a new normal for military spending. A series of proposed Pentagon spending sprees is coming down the pipe in Congress.
This Spring Congress is expected to vote on a proposal to add $30 billion additional dollars to the military for the rest of 2017, and plans for the coming years have even higher price tags. President Trump is expected to propose a $54 billion increase to military spending while cutting the State Department, the EPA, and other domestic programs. Senator McCain put forward a plan to increase the Pentagon budget $100 billion next year, and $200 billion by 2022.
An expensive military buildup constitutes a challenge to our fundamental values.
These proposed spending splurges come after years of rampant waste and misuse of funds at the Pentagon, the only federal agency that has never passed an audit. The Washington Post discovered that the Pentagon had tried to bury an internal report that identified $125 billion in wasted spending over the course of 5 years. In the most recent military spending bill, Congress has appropriated $14 billion dollars to the Pentagon for items that the military did not ask for. In no other agency would the mismanagement of billions of dollars be tolerated, let alone rewarded with additional funds.
There is hope of stopping increases to military spending. The power of the purse rests in Congress, and additional funds cannot be given without a 60 vote majority in the senate. Even within the Republican party there is disagreement about whether to prioritize the military or reducing the debt.
Now is the time to tell Congress not to endlessly fund war at the expense of health, diplomacy, education, and environmental security. Ask you Members of Congress to prioritize human needs over war making and oppose any increase military spending.