The bipartisan approach to the U.S. House of Representatives late Tuesday passed a sprawling military policy bill that contains nearly twice as much funding on an annual basis as Democrats’ flagship social spending and climate bill.
Stephen Miles (executive director of Win Without War) was confronted with this reality and decided to trash the organization. $778 billion National Defense Authorization Act as “a reckless misuse of resources, a windfall for war profiteers, and proof positive that most in Congress have little concern for the actual security of people in the United States or around the world.”
“Little could be more revealing of our nation’s broken budget priorities,” Miles added, “than the fact that this rubberstamp of three-quarters of a trillion dollars for warmaking was prioritized and will soon pass with bipartisan support, while the Build Back Better Act — which would invest in meeting real human needs — has been watered down and pushed to the back burner.”
Tuesday night, the House passed the NDAA. vote of 363-70Despite Democrats controlling the chamber and leading negotiations on the bill, the measure received more votes than the Democrats. There were 70 no votes. 51 were Democrats.
In a tweet explaining his vote against the NDAA, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) wrote that “it is astounding how quickly Congress moves weapons but we can’t ensure housing, care, and justice for our veterans, nor invest in robust jobs programs for districts like mine.”
“There was no CBO score needed,” Bowman addedThis is a jab at conservative Democrats, who have complained incessantly Concerns about the Build Back Better Act’s size are not similar to those about the bloated military budget.
“No concern about the deficit,” Bowman continued. “No mention of inflation.”
The House-passed NDAA contains $25 billion more in spending than President Joe Biden requested In his budget blueprint from earlier this year. As Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) pointed outThe federal government would need to spend approximately $22.5 billion to cover 12 weeks of paid family time for a year.
According to Defense News, the legislation in its current form contains “12 F/A-18 Super Hornets that were not requested; five more Boeing F-15EX jets than the request for 17 total; and 13 ships total — including two attack submarines and two destroyers―for five more than the request.”
Additionally, as Miles noted, the bill “fails to end U.S. complicity in the war in Yemen, excludes critical measures to rein in out-of-control executive war powers, and doubles down on a dangerous Cold War mindset towards China” with $7.1 billion for the so-called Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which progressives have deemed an “anti-China slush fund.”
During a pandemic the House passed a Pentagon budget in excess of $778billion. It’s $37 billion higher than last year’s military budget, which they passed during the same pandemic.
So much “national security” spending, so little security to show for it. pic.twitter.com/YB0SO8BI2l
— Stephen Semler (@stephensemler) December 8, 2021
Robert Weissman, president and CEO of Public Citizen, stated in a statement that “as the national debate centers around how much is ‘too much’ to be spending on the true needs of the American people, it is unconscionable to approve three-quarters of a trillion dollars for war-making.”
“What possible justification is there for throwing $768 billion at the Pentagon at the very same moment that we’re being told there isn’t enough money to provide dental care to seniors, establish a paid family leave, or provide free community college?” Weissman asked. “Why is there more money for the military-industrial complex — providing no additional protection for our national security and arguably diminishing it — at the same time U.S. is refusing to spend the $25 billion needed to make enough additional vaccines to vaccinate the world?”
Now, the NDAA is headed to the Senate. There it will be passed over objections by progressives such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Ed Markey, (D-Mass.), who have introduced amendments aimed at bringing the bill’s spending levels back into line with Biden’s request and redirecting 1% of Pentagon’s spending goes to global climate programs.
“Cutting the Pentagon’s budget could help fight threats like Covid, climate change, and more,” Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said Following his vote no on the NDAA. “Our work to cut the Pentagon’s budget and reallocate funds to help communities across the country is just beginning. The fight doesn’t end tonight.”