Just 11 Senators Voted for a 10 Percent Cut to Military Spending

The U.S. Senate handed its model of the Nationwide Protection Authorization Act in an awesome bipartisan vote on Thursday after rejecting Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ push for a ten% minimize to navy spending.

Simply 11 senators, together with Sanders (I-Vt.), voted towards last passage of the sprawling NDAA, which might authorize a document $886 billion in navy spending for the approaching fiscal yr — together with over $844 billion for the Pentagon and roughly $32 billion for the Power Division’s nuclear weapons applications.

The Congressional Finances Workplace estimated earlier this month that U.S. nuclear forces will value the nation $756 billion over the subsequent decade, or over $75 billion a yr. By comparability, the student debt cancellation plan that the Supreme Courtroom struck down final month would have value $30 billion annually over ten years, in accordance with the Schooling Division.

Sanders’ amendment, which was blocked in an 11-88 vote, would have minimize the entire quantity of funding licensed within the NDAA by $88.6 billion.

In a floor speech forward of Thursday’s vote, Sanders lamented that “yr after yr, with little or no debate, we pour a whole bunch of billions of {dollars} into the military-industrial complicated” whereas neglecting healthcare, schooling, housing, and the boiling planet.

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“Whereas protection contractors make enormous earnings, whereas the Pentagon stays unordered — with large waste and fraud — we now spend greater than the subsequent 10 nations mixed,” stated Sanders. “Sufficient is sufficient. It’s time to vary our nationwide priorities, and slicing navy spending by 10% is an effective option to start.”

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of many few senators to each assist Sanders’ modification and vote towards the NDAA, stated in an announcement that “the Senate voted to pad the Pentagon with a soft, close to trillion-dollar spending package deal to the tune of $886 billion — a ridiculous greenback determine that the navy doesn’t want.”

“The American individuals have repeatedly heard from Republicans that we have to minimize authorities spending — for schooling, for healthcare, for meals help — and now they’re enthusiastically throwing each nickel and dime they’ll discover between the sofa cushions to their protection contractor buddies,” Markey added. “It’s shameful.”

The Senate and Home will now start the method of reconciling the variations between their respective variations of the NDAA. Earlier this month, the Republican-controlled Home — with the assist of 4 Democrats — passed an NDAA loaded with right-wing amendments that will roll again abortion entry and gender-affirming take care of servicemembers.

However what the 2 chambers’ payments have in widespread is the $886 billion topline, which is consistent with President Joe Biden’s original request for fiscal yr 2024 and a $28 billion improve over the navy spending stage licensed for the present fiscal yr.

As Politico reported, the Senate invoice “contains nonbinding language that warns the $886 billion nationwide protection spending restrict set by a latest debt ceiling deal isn’t adequate and urges Biden to request emergency supplemental funding for Ukraine, munitions manufacturing, and different requirements.” Critics have warned that such supplemental spending might change into a brand new Pentagon “slush fund.”

Following Thursday’s vote, Public Citizen president Robert Weissman wrote that “we’re informed that we don’t have the funds for for daycare, common pre-Ok, housing the homeless, offering listening to aids for seniors, tackling the local weather disaster.”

“We don’t must spend $886 billion on the Pentagon,” he added. “Spending $886 billion on the Pentagon won’t make us safer. “Redirecting 10% of that whole for healthcare, schooling, local weather, and different priorities — as Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed — would.”

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