Jumping Into the Defense Budget Debate

May 12, 2012

The political fight over the next defense budget has begun. So it is time to jump into the debate.  The bill being considered would set the base defense budget at about $554 billion.  This Republican proposal is terrible for those who oppose current wars or all wars, and for everyone worried about the economic situation and the pain it is causing. 

Coupled with the proposed Republican budget, proposed increases in Pentagon spending are closely tied to slashing funding for social programs that are already failing to provide the very basics of human existence.  Here is a heart breaking exposure of how the currently proposed budget would slash the food stamp program.  House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan includes cuts in SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) of $133.5 billion — more than 17 percent — over the next ten years

Right now, the House Armed Services and Appropriations Committees are readying the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to send to the floor of the House for a vote in mid-May.  It includes funding for expanding weapon systems and raising troop levels.  Meanwhile, the House Budget Committee wants to cut $300 billion out of food stamp programs, health care, and other survival programs instead.  This would mean another decade of growing military spending on top of the last decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here is an action agenda from the New Priorities Network:

Email your congressperson this week and call them next week, and make these points in your own words.

·Cut military spending. Cut the waste, stop building useless weapons, end the wars, bring the money back to our communities.
·Save Food Stamps, Medicaid, and other vital programs. Don’t leave people to suffer without a safety net. you.

Write a letter to the editor, blog, call-in urging others to let their representative know how they feel about budget priorities.  When you make these issues public, you mobilize other people too and greatly increase the pressure on Congress.

Ask sympathetic local officials and organizational leaders to call Congress and send letters to the editor with you.  Take this opportunity to contact your allies – sympathetic local elected officials, leaders of organizations and faith groups, people who are trying to make our communities a decent place to live.  Ask them to co-sign letters to the editor or mobilize together to visit congressional offices.

You'll find resources to to begin your work against military spending at the New Priorities Network website.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the entire War Times project

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