Updated: May 4, 2022
The Pentagon budget continues to grow dramatically each year, and this growth hasn’t stopped in the first year of Biden’s presidency. As the release of the 2023 topline budget grows closer, we express growing concern for this misprioritization of Pentagon spending over other investments. We join 85 other national and state organizations in asking President Biden to decrease the amount allocated to the Pentagon in 2023.
“We write to make abundantly clear that despite what the military-industrial complex and its advocates in Washington may suggest, true national security will not be achieved by pouring more money into military might. Rather, the people of this country require serious, non-military investments to be truly secure, such as pandemic relief, jobs, healthcare, and climate crisis solutions.”
Dear President Biden,
The undersigned 86 national and state organizations are deeply dismayed that our federal military budget has ballooned to more than three-quarters of a trillion dollars during the first year of your presidency. Further, we are alarmed by reports of the pressure you are receiving to request an even greater sum in your proposed Fiscal Year 2023 budget, particularly from those poised to profit the most from the Pentagon’s ever-growing largesse.
We write to make abundantly clear that despite what the military-industrial complex and its advocates in Washington may suggest, true national security will not be achieved by pouring more money into military might. Rather, the people of this country require serious, non-military investments to be truly secure, such as pandemic relief, jobs, healthcare, and climate crisis solutions.
This is why many of our groups and the activists we represent have spent the last year tirelessly fighting to strengthen the Build Back Better package and make the case for meaningful social programs. Yet Congress instead gave into the demands of defense contractors by plussing up military spending beyond even the amount you requested, both through the appropriations process and in supplemental measures such as those addressing China and Ukraine. Clearly, for those who benefit from the military-industrial complex, no amount is ever enough. This year alone, three quarters of a trillion dollars slid through Congress with minimal resistance, all while legislators penny-pinched over items like paid family leave, subsidizing school lunches, free community college, and providing dental care to seniors.
Why is it that there is always more money for weapons and war – providing no additional protection for national security and arguably diminishing it – even as our government refuses to invest at scale in its most important resource – its people? Every dollar thrown carelessly to the Pentagon – the only Department that has never passed an audit – is a dollar not spent on the people who need it the most. Unquestioned war spending takes us further away from true, human-centered values and towards a country that acts at the behest of corporations, not its residents.
Presidential leadership is desperately needed at this moment if we are to change course. We urge you to right-size the Pentagon budget this year by lowering the amount of military spending in your Fiscal Year 2023 budget request.