Washington, D.C. — Today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) announced a formal caucus position on the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. The CPC will oppose the National Defense Authorization Act unless the spending level of $740 billion is meaningfully reduced and reallocated to programs that serve the needs of the American public. 

“Last year, the Pentagon budget was 90 times the budget of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This year — in the midst of a pandemic — that gap has widened further, with Congress proposing $8 billion in funding for the CDC, while the proposed Pentagon budget has ballooned to a record-breaking $740 billion. Congress’s priorities are so severely unbalanced that — even as millions of people across the country fall ill from the novel coronavirus — our leaders refuse to muster the political will to reinvest wasteful Pentagon spending in programs that will keep Americans safe and healthy,” said CPC Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).“Congress has allowed runaway Pentagon spending to the detriment of other vital programs — including food assistance, housing aid, public health initiatives, and more. In the midst of a pandemic, just days before unemployment benefits expire for millions across this country, it’s obscene to lavish more spending on endless wars, failed weapons systems, and handouts to defense contractors.”

“For far too long, Congress has been locked into a false choice of parity which underfunds human needs in this country while rubber-stamping a skyrocketing Pentagon budget. We urge our colleagues to support the Pocan-Lee Amendment in the House, and the Sanders Amendment in the Senate, which would cut 10 percent from the Pentagon budget,” added Representatives Pocan and Jayapal. “This should serve as a basic starting point as we reimagine what a sustainable defense budget looks like, ahead of the expiration of the caps deal next year.”

The Progressive Caucus’s FY2018 People’s Budget, which was supported by 108 members of Congress, reduced the Pentagon budget to $573 billion. 

The text of the Pocan-Lee amendment is available here.