Senate panel boosts Biden’s bloated military budget by $45 billion

Progressives responded in disgust after the Senate Armed Services Committee vote Thursday to add another $45 billion on top of President Joe Biden’s already massive military spending request, bringing the total proposed budget for the coming fiscal year to a staggering $857.6 billion.

The march of the Biden administration demand of 813 billion dollars military spending for fiscal year 2023 was an increase of $31 billion over current level of $782 billion, which is already unprecedented.

During its behind-closed-doors markup of the National Defense Authorization Act this week, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a bill with a budget of $847 billion, of which $817 billion is earmarked for the Pentagon. An additional $10.6 billion in national military spending is beyond the purview of the Senate committee. The House is expected to make its own efforts to further increase military spending for the next fiscal year.

William Hartung, senior fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, called the Senate panel’s decision “misguided.”

“The administration’s proposal is already more than spending at the height of the Korean and Vietnam wars and more than $100 billion more than at the height of the Cold War,” Hartung said in a statement. . “Putting more money into the Pentagon won’t make us any safer — it will just divert funds from solving other pressing challenges like pandemics and climate change that put millions of Americans at risk.”

Monica Montgomery, research analyst at the Council for a Livable World, pointed out that the Senate committee’s proposed $45 billion increase in military spending equals all of Biden. budget request for climate programs, demonstrating how “Congress will value militarism and defense contractors over a livable future.”

“If Congress is serious about keeping people safe, it must start by rejecting this increase and investing taxpayers’ money in human welfare instead,” said Tori Bateman, policy advocacy coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, in a press release.

Earlier this week, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) — co-chairs of the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus — introduced the People Over Pentagon Act of 2022, which proposes to cut $100 billion from Pentagon spending for the next fiscal year and reallocate those funds to threats facing the nation that “are not military in nature,” such as the pandemic of Covid-19, the climate emergency, and the worsening of inequalities.

Although a majority of American voters are opposite to military spending of more than $800 billion, previous efforts to cut the Pentagon’s budget failed to garner enough support to pass in the House or Senate, thanks in part to lawmakers who receive large sums of money for the campaign of the armaments industry, which benefits from constantly increasing expenditure.

About 55% of all Pentagon spending went to private sector military contractors from fiscal year 2002 through fiscal year 2021, according Stephen Semler of the Security Policy Reform Institute. “If this rate of privatization of funds over the past 20 years continues,” Semler wrote in December, arms dealers will gobble up an estimated $407 billion in public money in fiscal year 2022.

In the words of Win Without War President Stephen Miles, “The Pentagon’s ever-growing budget is simply a robbery from the American people that enriches some of the wealthiest corporations in this country.

Julia Gledhill, an analyst at the Project on Government Oversight’s Center for Defense Information, agrees.

“Increasing the Pentagon’s budget beyond President Biden’s request is not only irresponsible — it’s a slap in the face to American taxpayers,” Gledhill said. “Year after year, the Department of Defense demonstrates its lack of budgetary discipline, fails financial audits and pours money into weapons programs that do little more than enrich defense contractors.”

“This $45 billion increase is not about national security or the American people,” she added. “It’s about funneling money to the military-industrial complex.”

Sen. Jack Reed (DR.I.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters Thursday that inflation was “the first consideration” for increasing turnover. He also cited the need to support Ukraine, replenish weapons sent to help the country fight Russia, and fund military priorities not included in Biden’s request to the Pentagon, Politics reported.

The committee’s ranking, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, hailed the proposed spending hike as “everything I hoped for.”

The experts, on the other hand, have documented that military spending has never kept up with inflation. They also warned that the nearly $60 billion of weapons that Ukraine has already received from the United States is more likely to escalate the war than to advance peace, with arms manufacturers among the only beneficiaries of this prolonged suffering.

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s decision to increase US military spending comes despite the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen – a progressive advocacy group pushing the United States to rise in power manufacture vaccines and inoculate the world against Covid-19 with an investment of just $25 billion, or about 3% of the country’s annual military budget – said that “the Senate Armed Services Committee’s choice to defy both the President and public opinion and flood the Pentagon with more money is outrageous.

“Time and time again, Congress funnels billions of extra funds into expensive weapons programs, warfare and defense contractors, while claiming that human needs would ‘cost too much,’” Weissman said. . “Most Americans oppose efforts to launch rockets into trillion-dollar-a-year military spending. Lawmakers should reject that and champion human-centered spending instead.

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