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article imageAmendment to reduce Pentagon budget by 10 percent fails miserably

By Ken Hanly     Jul 22, 2020 in Politics
An amendment to make an across-the-board ten percent reduction to Pentagon spending levels authorized in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was overwhelmingly defeated by members of both parties.
The vote
Details of the vote can be found here. The actual amendment can be found here.
The US House of Representatives voted 324 against and 93 in favor of an amendment that would have reduced the spending authorization for the 2021 Pentagon budget by ten percent. The amendment did not specify what to cut but only that the US Congress should make across the board reductions. The amendment was offered by Representative Mark Pocan a Wisconsin Democrat.
All 185 Republicans voted against the amendment but so did most Democrats 139. Only 92 Democrats voted for the amendment along with Independent libertarian Justin Amash.
Why the cut could be justified
Many would argue that the US is by far the world's most powerful nation militarily. It could easily spend less than the authorized $750 billion and yet stay safe. The $75 billion dollars could be used to meet many other pressing needs such as repairing ageing infrastructure. The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will require extensive expenditures.
Having to cut the budget would force the Pentagon to look for administrative bloat, more closely evaluate the costs and benefits of programs and even evaluate missions to see if they are worth continuing.
As a recent article notes money is being spent on the military when other areas are underfunded: "At a time when health workers have struggled to find masks and protective gear, the Pentagon has so many extra trucks, guns, and other gear, it hands the surplus out for free to police departments — who then use it whether they need it or not, much like the Pentagon itself."
The Pentagon does not even know where all its money is spent. However, other areas such as public health, medical research, education, housing and infrastructure lack financial resources and are chronically and severely underfunded. In the appended video Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont argues for reducing the US military budget.
More about Pentagon budget, NDAA, US House of Representatives
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