1. Update
  2. U.S. Wars & Militarism

President Calls for Big Increase in Pentagon Spending

Congress Will Decide on Budget Priorities

By Jim Cason, February 28, 2017

President Donald Trump is proposing tens of billions of dollars in new Pentagon spending this year and next. But before the president’s proposals become real they will have to be voted on by Congress and that’s where you can make a difference.

The $30 billion boost in Pentagon spending the president has proposed for this year will be followed by a $54 billion increase in core Pentagon spending next year. These funds also appear to be tied to administration plans to expand U.S. military action around the globe. “We never win wars anymore. We never fight to win. We have to start winning wars again,” said President Trump in announcing the increased Pentagon spending.

As a matter of faith, we don’t believe spending more money on the military and expanding wars is the right choice for our nation. As a matter of public policy, Congress needs to ask: After 15 years of failed wars strategies in Iraq, Afghanistan and now expanding into Syria, will more of the same produce a different result? These proposals that will set the country on a path to new wars while cutting spending on the environment, diplomacy and other core activities that keep our communities safe.

The Pentagon already consumes nearly $600 billion in government spending, a sum that equal to what the next 7 countries combined spend on their military forces. And although Pentagon spending has decreased since the withdrawal of over 100,000 military troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States still at the same levels as at the height of the Cold War and Vietnam.

The Pentagon has also managed to evade the public accountability and audits that every other government agency is required to complete, failing even to produce accounting that is ready to audit never mind to pass an audit. In fact, the Pentagon wastes more money in a year, than several other cabinet agencies have for their full budgets. Our own quick tally found 4 steps Congress can take to cut nearly $40 billion in Pentagon spending –more than the total increase proposed for fiscal year 2017.

Yet the Trump administration is proposing to offset their historic increases in core Pentagon spending with deep cuts in spending for the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and other parts of the federal government that contribute substantially to U.S. security and leadership in the world. Cutting State Department spending right now would be literally robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Other proposals before Congress would cut EPA funding or change the formulas for Medicaid and Food Stamps in ways that could impact nearly 40 million people. But Congress will have to vote on all of these proposals and that's where your voice can make a difference.

Contact Congress today

Congress has the power to stop the president’s plans for new spending and new wars, but they need your help. Every member of Congress will have to vote on whether to support increases in Pentagon spending. Check out our resources on Pentagon spending and particularly our lobby leave behind. Then contact your senators today, urge them to publicly oppose any effort to increase Pentagon spending this year.

Jim Cason

  • Associate Executive Secretary for Strategic Advocacy, Legislative Director for Foreign Policy

Jim Cason is responsible for directing the full range of FCNL’s strategic advocacy work. In this capacity, he works with program staff to develop long term change strategies that accomplish our particular legislative goals. He also leads the lobbying of the foreign policy team.