Published on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 by

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/06/16/time-reinvest-people-and-cut-weapons-war-barbara-lee-unveils-plan-cut-350-billion

Time to Reinvest in People and Cut Weapons of War: Barbara Lee Unveils Plan to Cut Up to $350 Billion From Pentagon

“Redundant nuclear weapons, off-books spending accounts, and endless wars in the Middle East don’t keep us safe.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer
(Interjection – Lee’s staff has done some GOOD research… Negotiations would reduce the total to be re-allocated, but this is a very good place to start. ~ Don Chapin)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) puts on a mask during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on April 23, 2020. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) puts on a mask during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on April 23, 2020. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Demanding that Congress “prioritize our safety and our future, not more war,” Rep. Barbara Lee on Monday unveiled a resolution proposing up to $350 billion in cuts to the Pentagon budget by closing U.S. military bases overseas, ending ongoing conflicts, scrapping weapons programs, and eliminating President Donald Trump’s Space Force.

“Redundant nuclear weapons, off-books spending accounts, and endless wars in the Middle East don’t keep us safe,” the California Democrat said in a statement. “Especially at a time when families across the country are struggling to pay the bills—including more than 16,000 military families on food stamps—we need to take a hard look at every dollar and reinvest in people. It’s time to cut weapons of war and prioritize the well-being of our troops, anti- poverty programs, public health initiatives, and diplomacy.”

Lee’s resolution (pdf) comes as the House of Representatives is scheduled to begin marking up the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2021 next week. The Senate version of the NDAA calls for $740.5 billion in military spending, a budget Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has proposed cutting by 10%.

“We cannot continue to prioritize funding for a department known for its waste, fraud, abuse, and failure to pass an audit,” said Lee, “especially when the money to ‘protect national security’ is failing to protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

Cut Weapons of War

The California Democrat’s measure proposes saving (Lee’s staff has done some GOOD research):

  • $68 billion by eliminating the Overseas Contingency Operations account;
  • $90 billion by shuttering 60% of U.S. military bases overseas;
  • $66 billion by ending funding for ongoing U.S. wars (a VERY FEW scientific monitoring stations might have to remain);
  • $57.9 billion by eliminating “obsolete, excessive, and dangerous” weapons;
  • $38 billion by cutting military overhead by 15%;
  • $26 billion by slashing private service contracting by 15%;
  • $2.6 billion by dashing Trump’s Space Force proposal (a TOTALLY unnecessary “Command”);
  • $18 billion by “ending use-it-or-lose-it contract spending” (This isn’t just contracts, but government agency spending, as well);
  • $6 billion by freezing operations and maintenance budgets;and
  • $23 billion by cutting U.S. presence in Afghanistan in half.
  • Additionally unknown amount spent on nuclear weapons “modernization” under other agencies ~ Don Chapin

Reinvest in People

“Congress supports moves to reduce the priority given to war in our foreign policy and our current war-based national economy by using significant cuts, up to $350,000,000,000 as detailed above, from current budget plans, while using the funds to increase our diplomatic capacity and for domestic programs that will keep our Nation and our people safer,” the resolution reads.

Lee’s office noted in a press release that the Pentagon’s budget for fiscal year 2020—$738 billion—was the “largest on record” and came “at the expense of healthcare, education, infrastructure spending, and public health research.”

“For years, our government has failed to invest in programs that actually keep our country safe and healthy,” said Lee. “By over- prioritizing the Pentagon and military solutions, our country is drastically underprepared for any crisis that needs a non-military solution.” (AMEN!!!)

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