48 Groups to U.S. Congress: Not A Single Dollar More to the Pentagon

By Public Citizen, July 15, 2021

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer,

The undersigned 48 advocacy, faith, grassroots, and government oversight organizations are troubled by reports that Members of Congress are considering adding new funding for the Department of Defense to forthcoming infrastructure and recovery legislation. We join 24 Members of Congress led by Representatives Barbara Lee, Mark Pocan, and Cori Bush in
strongly urging that no new Pentagon funding is included in the Build Back Better agenda.

We are a nation experiencing multiple crises. We are recovering from a year of record unemployment and housing insecurity, reeling from the loss of loved ones, staggering under the weight of multiplying medical and student loan debt, confronting systemic racism and violent white nationalism, and combating the ongoing climate crisis. Militarized spending has not solved these problems, and in many ways has made them worse. Every additional dollar allocated to the Pentagon is another dollar that is not being used to address these urgent challenges, and will not provide the relief our communities desperately need.

There is already a well-established process by which military funding is debated and considered by Congress. Through this process, President Biden has already proposed a sky-high $753 billion for the Pentagon. Defense contractors have already received and misspent COVID relief money, and the Pentagon cannot account for the money it currently receives from taxpayers, having failed all four audits it has conducted in its entire history. It is urgent that Congress focus its efforts to rebuild a U.S. economy fit for the 21st century by increasing opportunities for jobs, healthcare and a green economy, rather than entertaining even a cent more in giveaways to war profiteers and weapons manufacturers, as those dollars are painfully and crucially needed to provide relief to working families of every stripe across the country.

We therefore urge you to ensure that no new Pentagon money is included in the forthcoming infrastructure legislation, and that the bill instead focuses squarely on our communities’ most urgent needs.

Signed,

National Organizations:
+Peace
Action Center on Race & the Economy
American Friends Service Committee
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Beyond the Bomb
Brave New Films
Center for International Policy
Center on Conscience and War
Coalition for Human Needs
CODEPINK
Common Defense
Council for a Livable World
Demand Progress
Democracy for America
Eisenhower Media Network
Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Friends of the Earth US
Jewish Voice for Peace Action
Justice is Global
MADRE
National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
New Internationalism Project at Institute for Policy Studies
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Our Revolution
Pax Christi USA
Peace Action
People’s Action
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Progressive Democrats of America
Public Citizen
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
RootsAction.org
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team
Sunrise Movement
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Veterans For Peace
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)
Win Without War
Working Families Party
World BEYOND War

State and Local Organizations:
Broward for Progress, Broward County, Florida
Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Washington D.C.
Mainers for Accountable Leadership
Massachusetts Peace Action
Peace Education Center, Lansing, Michigan

“Of the many, many sectors of the economy and society that are underfunded, the Pentagon is not among them. If there are unmet military infrastructure needs, the bloated Pentagon budget is more than enough to attend to them. No way should a dollar be siphoned from bridges, clean water, broadband, child care, poverty reduction, health care, averting catastrophic climate change or other acute needs in order to stuff more money in the Pentagon’s overflowing coffers.”
Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

“With a budget of over three quarters of a trillion per year, the Pentagon and arms dealers simply don’t need any more money. But to add Pentagon pork to an initiative meant for the prosperity and safety of our communities would be truly callous. Dollar for dollar, more jobs are created when invested in sectors like clean energy and education than in defense spending. That’s why, when the ink is dried, any legislation under the Build Back Better plan should robustly support the people of this country and include zero dollars for the Pentagon budget.”
Erica Fein, Senior Washington Director, Win Without War

“One crucial thing the pandemic taught us is that we have not invested enough in keeping our people safe from threats to our health and economic security. The Biden plans make investments that protect us. Congress should invest in health, housing, jobs, and education, and resist the temptation to add yet more spending for the Pentagon and its overpaid military contractors.”
Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs

“Defense funding for the Pentagon, which has never passed an audit, is already at an all-time high. Instead of further lining the pockets of defense contractors, we must cut Pentagon dollars from the infrastructure bill and ensure our tax dollars benefit communities suffering from housing insecurity, hunger, and violent racist and patriarchal policymaking.”
Mac Hamilton, Advocacy Director, Women’s Action for New Directions

“If there ever was a time to make it clear that our national investment should be steered to the urgent needs of our communities and not the Pentagon, now is that time. The crises our communities face can not be addressed by war profiteers and weapons manufacturers. Every dollar in Build Better Back Better needs to go toward addressing fundamental human needs.”
Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

“When we ask for spending on clean water, housing, and schools, Congress tacks on more money for weapons and war. This is unacceptable, and Congress must soundly reject all attempts to funnel money meant for our communities into weapons, war, and the pockets of defense contractors.”
Tori Bateman, Policy Advocacy Coordinator, American Friends Service Committee

“Putting infrastructure money into a massively overfunded institution whose purpose has been accurately and popularly described as ‘to kill people and break things’ is the opposite of infrastructure and of what’s needed to protect human and other life on earth.”
David Swanson, Executive Director, World BEYOND War

It is imperative that we realign our national values and how we define ‘national security,’ as well as address domestic needs and structural injustice. The pandemic has laid bare the need to shift where we place our priorities—and our resources. We reaffirm a message that Pope Francis had offered to world leaders on the pandemic, ‘This crisis is affecting us all, rich and poor alike,’ noting that the crisis is ‘putting a spotlight on hypocrisy,’ criticizing world leaders who rush to save lives while they keep manufacturing weapons, building massive arsenals and perpetuating unjust economic systems.”
Jean Stokan, Justice Coordinator for Nonviolence

“Every extra dollar for the military budget is a dollar robbed from the critical task that lies ahead of us: transforming our infrastructure to address the realities of climate change. It would be a crime to flood the Pentagon and private military contractors with more cash so they can continue to destroy infrastructure in other countries and contaminate land in this country.”
Carley Towne, Co-Director, CODEPINK


“The U.S. must reorient its priorities to protect the health and welfare of its people–and build toward a just and sustainable future. Don’t divert infrastructure resources to the military.”
Martin Fleck, Director, Nuclear Weapons Abolition Program, Physicians for Social Responsibility

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