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WASHINGTON, D.C. June 13, 2022– Today, Defense Spending Reduction Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan introduced legislation to cut $100 billion from the Defense budget and reallocate the funds to prioritize people over the Pentagon.

“For far too long, this country has put profits ahead of its people. Nowhere is that more apparent than in our Pentagon topline budget,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Just last year, key priorities like Build Back Better were left on the negotiating table, while Congress approved a $782 billion defense budget—higher than the military even requested. Meanwhile, our constituents continue to struggle with the cost of living and barriers to basic needs like housing and health care. It is time that we realign our priorities to reflect the urgent needs of communities across this country that are healing from a pandemic, ongoing economic insecurity, and an international energy crisis—none of which will be resolved through greater military spending. Taking this step to downsize our military budget by $100 billion will ensure that our national security truly centers on the American people, not weapons industry profits.” 

“The Pentagon’s budget continues to grow year after year, even as our forever wars have finally wound down,” Rep. Pocan said. “The United States spends more on defense than the next nine countries combined and cutting it by $100 billion will still keep the United States safe at the top spot. The amount of money the defense industry convinces Congress to spend each year doesn’t protect us from real threats like climate change, pandemics, or cyber-attacks. It only lines contractors’ pockets. Just imagine for once if we led the world in funding peace and not wars.”

“The Lee-Pocan bill disproves the claim that there’s not money to feed the hungry, care for the sick, cut child poverty or protect the planet,” said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen. “With U.S. military spending totaling more than China and the next 8 biggest military spenders combined, the Lee-Pocan bill will reclaim $100 billion in Pentagon spending and free it to be reallocated to domestic and human needs priorities. Thank you, Reps. Lee and Pocan. This is how we advance our true national security interests.” 

Click here to see the full text of the legislation.

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As a member of the House Democratic Leadership, she is the highest ranking Black woman in the U.S. Congress.