House Passes $858 Billion Military Spending Bill

Peace advocates on Thursday slammed the Home of Representatives’ passage of a mammoth $858 billion navy spending invoice as an early vacation present for the Pentagon and the weapons firms who profit from america’ ongoing — however largely forgotten — Warfare on Terror.

Home lawmakers voted 350-80 in favor of the 2023 Nationwide Protection Authorization Act (NDAA), with 45 Democrats and 35 Republicans voting “no.”

The brand new NDAA authorizes an $80 billion navy spending improve over the 2022 invoice, and $118 billion greater than when President Joe Biden took workplace in 2021. The 2023 allocation is greater than the mixed navy budgets of China, India, the UK, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea, according to the Nationwide Priorities Challenge on the Institute for Coverage Research (IPS). It’s additionally greater than the annual gross home product of nations together with Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey, based on United Nations figures.

The $858 billion determine doesn’t embrace further spending on the U.S. nuclear arsenal, contributions to Ukraine’s protection, or veterans’ advantages.

Progressives together with Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Unwell.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Marc Pocan (D-Wis.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) have been amongst those that rejected the invoice.

“Whereas working households are being crushed by inflation, we shouldn’t be spending $45 billion MORE than the president requested within the NDAA,” tweeted Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), who opposed the invoice. “Actually not on prime of an already bloated $800+ billion Pentagon funds filled with lobbyist giveaways. I voted NO.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), one other “no” vote, said he couldn’t help a invoice whose “topline stays billions of {dollars} above the president’s request, including to an already bloated Pentagon funds.”

Calling the invoice an “absolute shame,” the buyer advocacy group Public Citizen tweeted that “rising the funds for inflation is a awful excuse. The minimal wage has been $7.25 for over a decade. Why is there all the time cash for the military-industrial complicated, however a livable wage is by some means ‘too costly’?”

“There isn’t a justification to throw… $858 billion on the Pentagon once we’re instructed we are able to’t afford youngster tax credit score enlargement, common paid depart, or different primary human requirements,” the group added. “Finish of story.”

Cole Harrison, government director of Massachusetts Peace Motion (MPA), mentioned in a statement that “Waltham-based Raytheon and its fellow service provider of demise, Lockheed, are celebrating Christmas early.”

“Convey our struggle {dollars} residence,” Harrison added, noting that the struggle for the invoice shouldn’t be over. “We don’t want extra weapons and extra struggle. We’d like worldwide respect and cooperation. We urge senators to vote ‘no’ on this disgraceful misappropriation of taxpayers’ cash.”

MPA additional famous that “the Pentagon just lately failed its fifth consecutive annual audit, but Home members have been fast to bathe the unaccountable company with taxpayers’ cash,” and that “2.9 million kids in america have been lifted out of poverty in 2021 by the kid tax credit score, however that program expired after a 12 months, and now our elected officers have determined to spend an equal quantity on rising the struggle funds.”

Anti-war activists name on individuals to contact their senators and urge them to vote “no” on the NDAA — even whereas acknowledging that the mammoth bundle is all however certain to cross within the higher chamber.

Writing for the Qunicy Institute for Accountable Statecraft, Nationwide Taxpayers Union director of federal coverage Andrew Lautz said that “Congress is speeding to cross the NDAA over the following week or two, earlier than they go residence for the vacations.”

“Lawmakers will all however actually cross a large improve to the protection funds permitted by members of each events in each chambers of the legislature — not less than $80 billion in complete above 2022 ranges, and that doesn’t embrace tens of billions of {dollars} the Pentagon has obtained to fight Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” he mentioned.

“In that case,” Lautz added, “then Christmas will come early for the nation’s navy brass, who typically get to spend with out penalties from lawmakers who management their purse strings, and protection contractors, who profit mightily from the taxpayer-funded largesse.”