Funding of human needs must be front and center: Coalition asks presidential candidates to support Pentagon spending cuts

We need bold leadership to break the hold of what President Eisenhower deemed 'the military-industrial complex.'"

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In an open letter to 2020 presidential candidates, a new coalition urges the potential next president to make dramatic cuts to Pentagon spending. The coalition, which is made up of 22 groups, is asking that at least $200 billion be cut annually and the money instead be used for human needs.

“Put People Over the Pentagon” is the name of the new coalition asking presidential candidates to “stop misdirecting hundreds of billions of dollars away from domestic and human needs to pad unnecessary budget lines for endless wars, failed weapons and the Pentagon’s corporate handouts. Doing so will make our country stronger and more just.”

“Spending more than half of discretionary taxpayer dollars on the Pentagon fails to make America safer at the cost of other vital needs like job creation, health care and solving climate chaos,” Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, said. “At the same time, the U.S. short shrifts funding for diplomacy, development and other tools that prevent wars in the first place. We need bold leadership to break the hold of what President Eisenhower deemed ‘the military-industrial complex.'”

Of the $716 billion Pentagon budget, the coalition is asking to free up $2 trillion of more in the next 10 years to put to both “domestic and human needs priorities.” The coalition’s agenda also addresses the need for congressional authorization before ever going to war again.

“Congress should not authorize military action without identifying revenue to pay for current and future costs, including taking care of injured veterans.”

Making these necessary cuts would still be “more than enough to keep America safe at a level well above our nation’s post-World War II historical average,” the open letter stated.

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The coalition includes: 350.org, Center for Popular Democracy; Code Pink; Credo Action; Daily Kos; Demand Progress; Democracy for America; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Friends of the Earth; Greenpeace; Indivisible; Just Foreign Policy; MoveOn.org; National Priorities Project; Peace Action; Public Citizen; RootsAction; Social Security Works; United We Dream; Win Without War; Women’s Action for New Directions; and World Beyond War.

The open letter reads:

We are writing because we believe it is time to stop misdirecting hundreds of billions of dollarsaway from domestic and human needs to pad unnecessary budget lines for endless wars, failedweapons and the Pentagon’s corporate handouts.We are writing to encourage you to adopt a Pentagon spending cuts agenda that incorporates thefollowing three commitments:

●Pentagon spending should be reduced by at least $200 billion annually, freeing up $2trillion or more over the next decade for domestic and human needs priorities.

●The United States should never again go to war without Congressional authorization, andCongress should not authorize military action without identifying revenue to pay forcurrent and future costs, including taking care of injured veterans.

●By adhering to our values and promoting international cooperation, we can prevent war,address the underlying causes of conflict and meet humanitarian imperatives.Included with this letter please find an elaboration of this agenda, one that we believe denotes anew path forward for the United States.

Pentagon spending has spiraled out of control. It is longpast time to eliminate excess Pentagon spending and invest the savings in urgent domestic andhuman needs priorities – environmental protection, education, infrastructure, health care andmore — that will make the United States stronger and more just.We would like to meet with you to discuss this agenda at your earliest convenience. We willreach out to schedule a meeting shortly.

Sincerely,

350.org

Center For Popular Democracy

CODEPINK

CREDO Action

Daily Kos

Demand Progress

Democracy For America

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Friends of the Earth

Greenpeace USA

Indivisible

Institute for Policy Studies, National Priorities Project

and New Internationalism Project

Just Foreign Policy

MoveOn

Peace Action

Public Citizen

Roots Action

Social Security Works

United We Dream

Win Without War

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

World Beyond War

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