The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns signed on to the following letter to members of the Senate, urging their support for a proposed amendment that would reallocate 10 percent of the Pentagon budget toward human needs priorities, especially in light of the pandemic.
June 29, 2020
The undersigned organizations, representing our millions of members around the country, write to you in strong support of the proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 that would reallocate 10 percent of the bloated Pentagon budget toward severely underfunded human needs priorities - many of which are more critical than ever as our country continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge you to co-sponsor amendment 1788 introduced by Senators Sanders and Markey and vote in support should it reach the Senate floor.
Our militarism budget is out of control. In 2019, the United States spent more money on our military than the next nine countries combined. More than half of the Pentagon budget is spent on expensive and non-competitive military contractors. The Department of Defense’s budget eclipses that of federal courts, education, the State Department, local economic development, public health and environmental protection combined, yet the Pentagon is incapable of passing a basic audit.
Multiple analyses have determined that U.S. and collective security would not suffer, and in fact would improve by, cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the runaway Pentagon budget through common-sense steps, like eliminating redundant and unusable weapons systems, ending wars, ceasing reliance on expensive contractors, and rejecting new nuclear weapons development. These overdue steps would instead allow us to properly focus our investments on our most urgent and pressing human needs. Polling demonstrates that this is a popular idea, and most American voters want to see money redirected from the Pentagon to invest in human security.
The jarring recent images of police with weapons of war in our streets is a stark reminder of how militarism and white supremacy drive misplaced spending priorities both at home and abroad. Meanwhile, all over the country, millions have lost their jobs and access to health care as the novel coronavirus pandemic rages on. The current moment should force us to confront the reality that, for too long, we have invested in the wrong priorities, the wrong tools, and the wrong solutions.
As a point of comparison: last year, the Centers for Disease Control budget was $7 billion, the national policing budget was $100 billion, and the Pentagon budget was $746 billion. Those three figures alone tell a tragic story about what and who this country prioritizes and values.
We should no longer tolerate unchecked spending on systems that fuel violence and corporate greed at the expense of the basic needs of our people. This amendment is a crucial step toward a federal budget that actually aligns with our values. We strongly urge you to support it.
American Friends Service Committee
Beyond the Bomb
CASA in Action
Center for International Policy
Coalition on Human Needs
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Council for a Livable World
Criminalization of Poverty Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
Democracy for America
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa Peace and Justice Office
Environmentalists Against War
Equal Rights Advocates
Faith in Public Life
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Futures Without Vilence
Just Foreign Policy
Justice is Global
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Maryknoll Office for Global Concnerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Coalition for the HOmeless
National Employment Law Project
National Iranian American Council Action
National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition
Pax Christi USA
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK)
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Justice Team
STAND: The student-led movement to end mass atrocities
The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Union of Concerned Scientists
Veterans for Peace
Vets for the People
Win Without War
Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)
World BEYOND War
Yemeni Alliance Committee