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The Pentagon spending bills that have advanced through House and Senate panels have the same vision as the House and Senate “health care” proposals.

Together they lift up bombs and billionaires over health and humanity.

We cheered this week when the Senate delayed its cut-taxes-for-the-rich/cut-health-care-for-everyone-else bill.

But beyond the bright lights on the Senate floor, other troubling legislation did manage to move ahead this week.

Massive Pentagon spending and policy bills, which would have taxpayers spend around $70 billion more than current Pentagon spending levels, advanced through the House Armed Services and Appropriations Committees and the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Make no mistake, these Pentagon funding bills march arm in arm toward the same vision as the House and Senate “health care” proposals: together they lift up bombs and billionaires over health and humanity.

These bills would fund more of everything and anything the Pentagon wants—but they would drive a budget that hollows out the basic support many struggling Americans need.

They would pay for thousands more Americans to sign up for fights old and new—but they offer no real strategy for how or when those fights will end. They would stuff billions more into the Pentagon’s unbudgeted war spending slush fund—but they would not compel the Pentagon to finally pass a clean financial audit.

A New Nuclear Arms Race

On top of all these problems, these spending and policy bills are not waiting around for the Trump administration: they fire their own starting guns on a new nuclear arms race.

They would make billion-dollar down payments on the trillion-dollar Trump plan to extend and bolster our unsafe, oversized Cold War nuclear arsenal. They would spend tens of millions of dollars on a new weapon—an intermediate-range ground-launched missile—that our military hasn’t asked for and that is currently banned under U.S. law.

They would do much to wreck the last legacies of Reagan-era arms control agreements with Russia that have made our country and the world safer. They ignore the lessons of Cold War nuclear near-misses, instead restarting the old, foolhardy bid to just keep building new weapons in pursuit of perfect peace and security. Our country barely dodged disaster the last time we went that way. We must not run those risks again.

Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

Everyone in Washington loves to talk about stopping government waste, fraud, and abuse.

Here’s what these bills would actually do: they would waste our nation’s resources on technologies of death and destruction instead of innovations in health and welfare.

They would persist with the fraud that we can bomb and kill our way to greater stability in the Middle East or elsewhere.

They would, for the most part, prolong the abuse of our cherished Constitutional principles by a Congress that shirks its duty to own decisions over war and peace—though in a remarkable bit of good news, Representative Barbara Lee did manage to win the Appropriations Committee’s support for her amendment to repeal the open-ended, over-stretched post–9/11 authorization for war against al Qaeda.

Now What

These initial committee moves are just the first—and by no means the last—word on next year’s Pentagon budget.

But we must raise our voices now to stop the momentum toward an ever bigger Pentagon budget.

Tell your member of Congress that you want them to rein in out-of-control Pentagon spending, finally clean up the Pentagon’s financial messes, and stop the next nuclear arms race before it starts.

Anthony Wier

Anthony Wier

Legislative Secretary, Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon Spending
Anthony is our lead lobbyist and the director of FCNL’s work on nuclear weapons policy and is the key team leader working on our efforts to rein in Pentagon spending.

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