Washington, DC – Yesterday, in a meeting closed to the public, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a bill adding a massive $25 billion to President Joe Biden’s already bloated Pentagon budget request. The Friends Committee on National Legislation urges the full Senate to reject the bill.
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“At a time when Americans are reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and rising gun violence, it is alarming that the Senate Armed Services Committee would add billions more for weapons and war. Adding billions of dollars more to an already out of control Pentagon budget is unconscionable in today’s reality. In a world crying out for racial, economic, and environmental justice, our tax dollars would be better invested to reflect and address human values and needs,” said Diane Randall, FCNL general secretary. “Excessive Pentagon spending sets back our efforts to advance racial, economic, and environmental justice. I hope the full Senate will reject this bill,” she added.
Randall also criticized the bill’s expansion of the Selective Service System to require that women register for the draft. “Instead of expanding a senseless and discriminatory system that violates key tenets of religious liberty, the committee should have abolished it altogether,” said Randall.
In addition to approving defense-related activities totaling $777.9 billion for FY 2022, the Senate committee gave its full-throated endorsement to the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) and provided full funding for the nuclear-tipped Submarine Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM-N).
“More Pentagon spending means more violence against Black and brown people,” said Diana Ohlbaum, FCNL’s legislative director for foreign policy. “At the very minimum, an end to the war in Afghanistan should bring a significant peace dividend, and not be replaced by expensive and unnecessary new weapons and preparations for new wars.”
She noted that intercontinental ballistic missiles, including the new GBSD, increase the chances of a catastrophic accident or miscalculation, while the SLCM-N would revive a destabilizing weapon that was declared redundant and retired from the nuclear arsenal in 2010.
“Why would we want to spend billions on weapons that make it more likely for a conflict to escalate into nuclear war?” Ohlbaum asked. “We’re so addicted to this militaristic way of relating to the world that we can’t see it’s putting us in ever greater danger.”
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