WASHINGTON — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Mark Pocan (WI-02), and Barbara Lee (CA-13), chairs emeriti of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and co-chairs of the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus, issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s FY2023 budget proposal:

“There is much to be applauded in the President’s budget today. We are particularly pleased to see an increase in non-defense discretionary spending to meet critical needs and funding to deliver the investments from the President’s economic agenda for working people. It also makes corporations and billionaires pay their fair share, including through a new tax on billionaires’ total incomes, a longstanding progressive priority supported by a significant majority of the American people. 

“But if budgets are value statements, today’s White House proposal for Pentagon spending shows that we have a lot of work to do. It is simply unacceptable that after the conclusion of our longest war and during a period of Democratic control of both chambers of Congress, the President is proposing record high military spending. 

“Last year, the President requested $753 billion for Pentagon spending, topping the Trump administration’s last enacted spending level of $740 billion. The U.S. House of Representatives more than doubled that desired increase, and Congress ultimately enacted the full amount of $782 billion in military spending for Fiscal Year 2022, totaling defense-related budgets across agencies. Still, the White House has requested yet more for Fiscal Year 2023, $813 billion — nearly half of which is likely to go to private military contractors. The Pentagon remains unable to pass an audit, and its history of waste, fraud, and abuse continues to misuse taxpayer dollars.

“As Pentagon spending has exploded, the federal government has been forced to pinch pennies for decades when it comes to investments in working families. Appropriators and advocates are constantly called to answer for how we will afford spending on lowering costs and expanding access to health care, housing, child care services, on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and on combating climate change — but such concerns evaporate when it comes to the Pentagon’s endlessly growing, unaudited budget.

“We will continue to vigorously advocate against this military spending proposal, as we have in years past. And we remain committed to our mission of working toward a federal budget that prioritizes peace, diplomacy, and American families’ needs over those of war.”