Fifty House Democrats are pushing for a significantly reduced Pentagon defense budget. The legislators sent a letter to President Biden on Tuesday urging him to cut the defense budget, according to Reuters.
Spearheaded by Progressive Caucus chairs Reps. Barbara Lee, Mark Pocan and Jake Auchincloss, the letter noted that slashing the defense budget would help reverse the former administration’s increased Pentagon spending, The Hill reports.
The letter stated, “Hundreds of billions of dollars now directed to the military would have greater return if invested in diplomacy, humanitarian aid, global public health, sustainability initiatives, and basic research. We must end the forever wars, heal our veterans, and re-orient towards a holistic conception of national security that centers public health, climate change and human rights,” according to The Hill.
Over the past three years, former President Trump increased the Pentagon’s budget by 19%, raising it from $619.5 billion to $740 billion, according to Reuters. The Hill reports that Republicans are urging President Biden to increase defense spending by 3% to 5%.
According to Bloomberg, Pentagon officials are expecting to receive a flat budget — $704 billion to $708 billion — rather than an increase from President Biden. Despite progressive Democrat protests, reducing the budget is unlikely to receive bipartisan support because defense spending supports a high number of U.S. jobs, according to Reuters.
Because of the impact on jobs, other Democrats may be opposed to reducing the defense budget. “Deep defense cuts may not be popular with many moderate Democrats either,” a Pentagon official told Reuters.
The letter penned by House Democrats requesting cuts in defense spending did not provide the amount they are hoping President Biden will decrease the budget but notes that it should be “significantly reduced.”
“While we are heartened that your administration is not contemplating expanding the Pentagon’s already inflated budget, our new Democratic majorities in Congress along with your administration should go further. Rather than requesting a flat Pentagon budget, we urge you to seek a significantly reduced Pentagon topline,” the letter, as reported by The Hill, stated.
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