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On Sept. 1, members of the House Armed Services Committee voted 42-17 to boost the Pentagon budget by $23.9 billion above the president’s original request, bringing total Pentagon spending to $740 billion.

It’s time for the House to take a stand against endless war.

This increase, which would mark a $37 billion increase from the prior year, follows a similar spending boost in the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, which was almost unanimously supported by the committee (24-1).

As an organization that seeks a world free of war, FCNL opposes all spending on war. As a matter of public policy, we are concerned about endless Pentagon spending, which has been skyrocketing for years: The previous administration added $130 billion over the course of four years and President Biden has request $12 billion on top of that amount.

Now, Congress is preparing to add even more money. FCNL deplored the Senate’s proposed Pentagon spending boost in July, arguing “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.”

A Budget that Doesn’t Match the Moment

In a letter to House Armed Service Committee members, FCNL and 21 partner organizations argued that increasing the military budget isn’t an adequate solution to the country’s most pressing threats:

“Most of the life-threatening challenges our country faces – the climate crisis, pandemic disease, and nuclear catastrophe – cannot be solved and could be exacerbated by increasing funding for the military. Endless wars and new arms races make Americans less safe by diverting funds from domestic needs, stoking instability, and entrenching defense contractors’ outsized influence over Congress”

Some members of Congress are pushing back on this unnecessary spending, too. Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17) explained he will not vote to advance this defense budget if it included the $23.9 billion boost: 

“If we are getting out of Afghanistan and we have the money, why are we spending this 23.9 billion on defense as opposed to, for example, giving that money to all our veterans who served in Afghanistan for 20 years… Why don’t we spend money on resettling [Afghan allies and refugees]. I don’t understand why we need, at a time where we are withdrawing from Afghanistan… a budget that is higher than the height of the cold war.”

It’s Time for the House to Stand Firm Against More War Spending

FCNL has endorsed Rep. Mark Pocan’s (WI-2) COVID Defense Act, which would transfer 1.3% of the Pentagon budget to global vaccine efforts, vaccinating an additional 30% of the worlds low-income population within a year. FCNL has also supported a congressional letter from Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Rep. Pocan which similarly rejected increases to the Pentagon budget—but there’s still more work to do.

It’s time for the House to take a stand against endless war and end the new arms race rhetoric that makes us less safe. Tell your representative that you don’t support wasteful and dangerous spending and urge them to reject increases to the Pentagon budget.

Allen Hester

Allen Hester

Legislative Representative, Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon Spending
Allen Hester leads FCNL’s Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon Spending portfolio. He develops legislative strategies and lobbies Congress for reductions in Pentagon spending, strengthened arms control regimes, and the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.