Peace advocates are denouncing the new bipartisan budget deal, which was produced to prevent another government shutdown, because of an “outrageous” decision to boost military spending while education, infrastructure, an urgent renewable energy transition, and other programs remain underfunded.
Although the two-year $300 billion deal, which was announced by Senate leaders Wednesday and is expected to be voted on Thursday, would also fund less controversial priorities such as infrastructure and various healthcare programs, Win Without War director Stephen Miles remarked that this “budget deal means that once again, the Pentagon and defense industry CEOs—whose pockets are already deep and overflowing with cash—are about to get another giant spending spree, funded by American taxpayers.”
As CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin and Elliot Swain wrote earlier this week, another massive military funding boost “means more Pentagon contracts will be awarded to private corporations that use endless war to line their pockets.”
While offering praise for the push to fund domestic programs that benefit Americans, Miles noted “that those programs vie for funds from an increasingly shrinking pot,” and posed the question: “When our nation can’t manage to turn the lights on for the people of Puerto Rico, when we can’t help those suffering from opioid addiction get treatment, and when we can’t ensure education and healthcare to all of our citizens, how is it possible we can justify spending billions more on weapons that don’t work to fight enemies that don’t exist?”
The National Priorities Project said Wednesday that “too much military spending” had hindered programs that help Americans, and pointed to a video shared by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), which was “dedicated to the 13 million children who don’t know where their next meal is coming from because our country values the Department of Defense budget over their wellbeing.”
The major challenges facing the U.S. and the world, Miles added, “are not problems that have a military solution. Throwing more money at the Pentagon, while we continue to gut the State Department, will only double down on the Trump administration’s violence-first approach to the challenges we face that has proven time and again to increase instability around the world.”