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Americans’ Security and Prosperity and the Federal Budget
We are writing to urge you to enact a federal budget focused on providing security and prosperity for all Americans. Our security and prosperity requires not only investing in our military but also in education, creating good jobs building a modern infrastructure, supporting the childcare, nutrition, health care, affordable housing and other vital services that provide economic security to our families and a brighter future for our children.
American security and prosperity is also deeply connected to security and prosperity around the world. One thing we've learned the hard way is that the over-reliance on force can make us less secure. When we spend so much on the Pentagon, the only solutions we have at the ready are military. Instead of pouring money into defense contracting, we should look for comprehensive security solutions and address the root causes of conflict.
Yet funding for the Pentagon’s base budget in the President’s 2016 budget is the biggest in the nation’s history. Total Pentagon spending, including nuclear weapons and war spending, consume well over half of the nation’s discretionary budget – even as we continue to draw down troops from Afghanistan. Most of the budget growth goes to fund weapons systems, many of which don’t work and don’t serve a function on today’s battlefields. Too often we’re spending billions to pad the pockets of Pentagon industry insiders who are seeing record profits, but doing little to make us more secure. The Pentagon’s budget is so mismanaged they are not able to say how many people work for the Pentagon or where they actually spend all their money.
At the same time, public investment in America’s future – on roads, schools, scientific research – is at historic lows. And the wide range of vital services that provide security and opportunity for American families have undergone intense cuts since 2010. In 2014, domestic discretionary spending was cut by $15 Billion – or 3%, while the Pentagon used its massive slush fund – the Overseas Contingency Operations account – to avoid any significant cuts at all.
America’s path to prosperity and security depends on a prosperous and secure world. We all do better when all do better. We are all more secure when we are all more secure.
The undersigned organizations represent millions of Americans with a tremendous stake in the outcome of the ongoing budget process. Given the unequal impact of sequestration on domestic programs and a focus on building real security, we oppose any increase in Pentagon spending at the expense of our domestic programs and that includes the overseas account.
We want a safe and secure nation. The safety of our residents is of utmost importance. Proposals to rein in wasteful Pentagon spending should not threaten that priority. Likewise our men and women in uniform have born the costs of more than a decade of war and they deserve our continued support and a commitment to honor the promises they were made as they come home from battle. But the Pentagon must not be immune from oversight and fiscal responsibility. Like any other department, the Pentagon must be held accountable for its spending and be able to prove that its programs are a responsible and worthwhile use of our limited tax dollars.