Adding $37 Billion to Biden’s Military Budget

In a House committee vote, U.S. representatives voted 42-17 in favor of Rep. Jared Golden’s amendment to boost the president’s  already gargantuan military spending request.

U.S. House of Representatives building and the east portico of the U.S. Capitol. (Ron Cogswell, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

By Kenny Stancil
Common Dreams

Progressives expressed outrage after a House panel voted Wednesday to tack an additional $37 billion on top of President Joe Biden’s already gargantuan military spending request.

The Biden administration’s March request for $813 billion in military spending for Fiscal Year 2023 already marked a $31 billion increase over the current, historically large sum of $782 billion.

During its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the House Armed Services Committee approved by a 42-17 margin Rep. Jared Golden’s (D-Maine) amendment to boost the topline budget by $37 billion.

“Today members of the House Armed Services Committee put the demands of the military-industrial complex over the needs of the American people yet again,” Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said in a statement.

“Granting $37 billion to a war machine that can’t even pass an audit while saying that we ‘can’t afford’ what American families and communities need is quintessential hypocrisy,” said Weissman. “Congress can still correct this misstep — rerouting that funding into investments like economic stability, climate justice, and affordable healthcare for all Americans instead.”

The House panel’s increase comes less than a week after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to add $45 billion to Biden’s $813 billion request, pushing the upper chamber’s total proposed budget for national military spending in the coming fiscal year to a whopping $857.6 billion — including $817 billion for the Pentagon, $30 billion for the Department of Energy and an additional $10.6 billion that falls outside NDAA jurisdiction.

During a speech Wednesday in which she explained why she voted against Golden’s “unconscionable” amendment, Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Cailf.) stressed that “there are simply not military solutions to every problem.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) also voted against Golden’s amendment and explained his opposition in remarks delivered from the House floor.

“If you’re supporting this amendment, you’re basically paving the way to a trillion-dollar defense [bill],” said Khanna. “Is that what we want in this country?”

“I just want to be clear,” he added. “There is no country in the world that is putting over half its discretionary budget into defense and I would rather for us to be the preeminent economy of the 21st century by investing in the health of our people, in the education of our people, in the industries of the future.”

Public Citizen, meanwhile, noted that the military spending increase approved by the House panel costs 10 times more than preserving the free school lunch program that Congress is allowing to expire “because it’s ‘too expensive.'”

Public health experts from the progressive advocacy group have also spent more than a year urging the U.S. to ramp up vaccine manufacturing and inoculate the world against the coronavirus with an investment of just $25 billion, or roughly 3 percent of the nation’s annual military budget.

Last week, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) — co-chairs of the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus — introduced the People Over Pentagon Act of 2022, which proposes cutting Pentagon spending for the next fiscal year by $100 billion and reallocating those funds toward threats facing the nation that “are not military in nature,” such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate emergency, and worsening inequality.

Although a majority of U.S. voters are opposed to military spending in excess of $800 billion, earlier efforts to slash the Pentagon’s budget have failed to gain enough support to pass the House or Senate thanks in part to lawmakers who receive significant amounts of campaign cash from the weapons industry, which benefits from constantly ballooning expenditures.

Roughly 55 percent of all Pentagon spending went to private sector military contractors from FY 2002 to FY 2021, according to Stephen Semler of the Security Policy Reform Institute. “If this privatization of funds rate over the last 20 years holds,” Semler wrote in December, arms dealers will gobble up an estimated $407 billion in public money in FY 2022.

Kenny Stancil is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

26 comments for “Adding $37 Billion to Biden’s Military Budget

  1. Sgt. Pepper
    June 25, 2022 at 17:57

    The first sentence says it passed.
    The Democrats are very good at casting a few completely meaningless votes that virtue signal their ‘objection’. They can do this on bills or committee votes that are already locked in as passing. Remember, everyone in Congress knows the current vote tally on anything. So, when the fake-left cast their fake-no-vote, they knew it would make no difference. So, the committee passed it, the Democrats got exactly what they wanted, which is another $40 billion that won’t be spent to help any Americans. And the fake-left could virtue signal their displeasure.

    I’ll guarantee that if the vote was close, their vote was required for passage, then every ‘Progressive’ would vote ‘yea’.

    This is just the usual Democrat scam. They always pass the money the banks, the corporations and the generals want. They even add extra to the request as a cherry on top. They know their voters won’t like it. So, they trot out a meaningless number of ‘no’ votes. Its just theater.

  2. Tobysgirl
    June 25, 2022 at 15:44

    Thank you so much for publishing this article. Golden is my representative; I had already decided not to vote for him again and this is the frosting on the disgusting cake that is his career. I remember someone warning years ago about all the veterans running for federal office, that we need civilians not militarists, running the country. I’m assuming Golden will take a nice fat job with the weapons lobbyists when he is no longer in office.

  3. LeoSun
    June 24, 2022 at 19:02

    “Progressives expressed outrage after,…..” PROGRESSIVES? “Say Their Names.”

    Otherwise, I presume, “Rho Khanna. He’s Lovely.” “Robert Weissman. President, Public Citizen,” wtf?

    Btw, Mr. Weissman, “when’s your next “WATCH” Party?” (The JUMBOTRON featuring Nancy’s Select 6. DEMOCRATS sitting NEXT TO the 10 Ft., High, topped w/Razor Wire, Fence that surrounds The People’s House on Capitol Hill, “WATCHING,” gett’n fat on FREE Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Oh what a night”. Did Ralph Nader approve this Science Fiction Flick/Movie?

    ROBERT WEISSMAN, “Congress can still correct this misstep — rerouting that funding into investments like economic stability, climate justice, and affordable healthcare for all Americans instead.”

    Mr. Weissman, STOP! Please, STOP IT!!! I am beyond gawd dam done w/hearing the Democrats pie-n-the sky, bull$hit!!! “Oh, the woulda, coulda, shoulda.” Hence, this morning, I phoned the other two yah who’s named herein, BARBARA LEE & MARK POCAN, neither was in the office. I left a LENGTHY voice mail w/LEE; &, spoke directly to POCAN’S secretary. Basically, advising they f/up. They should be recalling $800 BILLION Not $100 BILLION. The M.I.C.Kay eh why? Will f/gladly “Give” the boil on America’s AS$ aka Democrats $100 Billion just to keep ‘em off their a$$.

    SIMPLY, My ask, DO ONE Thing, STOP the Extradition. GET “A PARDON for JULIAN ASSANGE!!!” The Emergency is to FREE Julian Assange. TY. A.S.A.P.

    • LeoSun
      June 24, 2022 at 19:21

      Otherwise, Julian Assange will be extradited into the lethal hands of the Political Corpse, dressed like a Funeral Director, posing as POTUS; masquerading as Human, Joe Robinette Biden w/HIS cue card in hand, will shuffle to the podium, “say hello to HIS Board of Executioners.” Then, JOEY, “YOU take YOUR seat.” “YOU give brief comments (2 minutes, tops!).” When reporters depart, “YOU thank the Executioners;” and, “YOU depart.” Delaware or BUST!!!

      The UNIVERSE’s ask: “STOP the Persecution & Extradition of Julian Assange. Please, PARDON, Julian Assange.” A.S.A.P., TY

  4. Bob Gardner
    June 24, 2022 at 15:53

    Inflationary, of course.

  5. Vera Gottlieb
    June 24, 2022 at 14:56

    Burdening future generations ad infinitum.

  6. Tim N
    June 24, 2022 at 08:32

    Is that the same Ro Khanna who voted to send some $40 billion to Ukraine, most of it for weaponry? EVERY Dem voted for war spending in Ukraine, and now they’re upset over this? I’m sure the money will get approved. Then the Dems can get back to whatever it is they do, like virtue-signaling, writing Strongly Worded Letters to their Masters, and tweeting out platitudes.

    • Tobysgirl
      June 24, 2022 at 16:24

      Strongly Worded Letters to their Masters!

  7. rgl
    June 23, 2022 at 23:37

    Being a non-yank, forgive my ignorance of your political system, but Biden, as President can simply not sign the bill into law, and it is dead. Am I correct, or do I need schoolin’?

    • Vera Gottlieb
      June 24, 2022 at 14:58

      I am no Yank either but have lived with them a number of years and quite familiar with their mentality…Rest assured, a way will be found to circumvent any obstacle(s).

    • RS
      June 25, 2022 at 11:54

      Yep, you’re right. A veto can be overturned by congress, but Biden is behind it all the way.

  8. cjonsson1
    June 23, 2022 at 23:07

    Drew Hunkins,
    You are so right about throwing more and more of our resources at the international death machine.
    Spending money on climate change seems like pouring money into a black hole. Climate change is never defined and open to interpretation.
    Preserving wilderness areas and stopping industrial pollution would go a long way toward protecting the environment.
    Feeding, housing, and employing the growing homeless population are crying for attention, while the elites buy more houses and property.
    Investing more on the ongoing pandemic just contributes more to the bulging pockets of our pharmaceutical overlords, whose main interest is increasing their bottom line, not our health.
    Politicians never seem to get it.

    • Tobysgirl
      June 24, 2022 at 16:27

      I highly recommend Bright Green Lies. And it’s good to remember that 88 civilizations collapsed between 3000 BCE and 1000 CE, and not one of them did anything to avert the collapse.

      We cannot live in the way we have become accustomed to; I fear how people will react as things get worse. We are already showing the signs of an overpopulated MAMMALIAN society, including breakdown of social behavior and lack of safeguarding of our children.

    • Tobysgirl
      June 25, 2022 at 14:08

      I suggest reading such books as Bright Green Lies and Overshoot. There are of course many more, but these are both texts for comprehending what is happening to the planet and human society. And what are we spending on climate change? MORE consumer items such as electric cars (where does the electricity come from?) and solar panels, both of which use more energy to produce than they save.

      An excellent point in Overshoot is that ALL mammalian societies behave similarly when overpopulated, the effects being serious breakdown in behavioral norms.

  9. Jeff Harrison
    June 23, 2022 at 22:30

    What’s actually ludicrous about this is that the US couldn’t afford that kind of money REGARDLESS of what it was spent on. And we have lots of things that we need to spend money on. Back in the ’50s we copied the German autobahns. We had this marvelous network of roads that would serve many purposes. We used to have a decent (but not great) railroad system. Now, it’s pretty much junk. Europe still has a decent pedestrian rail system. I remember being able to go from little Rhode St Genese all the way up to Antwerp in a couple of hours back in the mid ’60s. You can zoom from Boston to DC (sorta) but if you really want to get smokin’ go to China. There is no, read no, rail head at LA harbor. Make America Great Again? Making America Great doesn’t involve making it the global hegemon or having an outsized military. It involves having a great society. Great transport systems – rail, road, and air. Having great telecommunication systems – both voice and data. We’ve barely got 5G and Huawei is already working on 6G. We need to support families. Back in 1971 when I went out into the world, it was typical for a man to be able to support his wife and children on his salary. And before the feminestas get going, I don’t really care which of the two spousal units goes out and provides for the family and which one takes care of the household but having that basic division of labor is a good thing. That’s not the way it’s working and is the government doing anything to support the family? No. Is that going to make America great? No. The US lags most of the industrialized world in many of the basic measures of quality of life – life expectancy, medical care availability, basic security (for all of our murderous police), food and housing security – and there’s no real excuse for that. There is, however, a reason. Of the 25 wealthiest people (families) in the world, 15 are American.

    • RS
      June 25, 2022 at 12:10

      I hear you, Jeff. We did copy the German autobahn but this was only because president Eisenhower convinced Congress it was for defense. We are spending billions for defense but Congress is confused over the definition of what constitutes defense.

    June 23, 2022 at 19:50

    I think the Russian Federation is showing us how defense funds can be properly invested in weapons systems that actually work, rather than in, say, Ospreys and F-35s and Zumwalt class warships that wrack up tens of billions in cost overruns and don’t perform as planned. What’s really concerning is that Russia has deployed only a small fraction of its military and almost none of its most advanced technology yet, in what really is a “special” operation rather than a full-scale invasion. And the Kremlin manages it all on a budget a tenth of the Pentagon’s. Too bad their people are so terribly oppressed and the president they elected is an evil dictator – or so says the corporate media whose owners who also happen to be major shareholders in the US military, aka “defense” industry.

    In 1934 the US Senate convened the Nye Committee, to investigate the role of bankers and weapons manufacturers in drawing the US into the World War. The committee was stonewalled at every turn, but a resolution emerged to nationalize the American arms industry, so it could be run for the defense of the country rather than the profit of private investors. And if you might hazard a guess that senators of Joe Biden’s party killed the proposal, you would be correct.

    • Ian Stevenson
      June 25, 2022 at 11:43

      Unlike the US, Russia has long land borders -China, Kazakstan , Mongolia plus borders with Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Europe in the West. Thus ground forces are more important. A sizeable portion of the army has to kept on those borders. A section of the army is for internal security. Russia has many ethnic minorities who are not always appreciative of the rule of he Kremlin. This imposes limits on the number deployed in Ukraine.
      Money spent is much less than the US but costs and pay are much cheaper.
      However, there are problems. Corruption is widespread in the awarding of contracts for supply and maintaining equipment . The Duma or Parliament are not as critical as Congress about state spending.. Consequently, some of the kit arriving doesn’t work. Some vehicles are fitted with Chinese supplied tyres which tend to break up. Reserve stocks of weapons need not only to be serviced but trained people are needed to do that and operate them.
      They have conscription which is disliked because of the bullying -dedovshchina- traditions. Only about 5% are conscripted and refresher training in the reserve is often neglected. With a years training, their skill level is not high. The NCO structure-warrant officers, sergeants and corporals -who provide lower level leadership -is under utilised despite efforts to enhance their role . Hence more senior officers get deployed into the front line and the high loss rate of senior men, including generals.

      A number of western observers expected the war to be over in a week, despite the weaknesses. It is still going on months later. Part of that is due to the determination of Ukrainian soldiers and their equipment , mainly of a short range defensive nature like the NLAW and javelin anti-tank weapons. A larger part is probably due to the poor leadership of the Russian Army , deficiencies in training and tactics. The war has revealed the reality. They are relying on mass bombardment rather than manoeuvring infantry and armour. However, they have the advantage of numbers and firepower. It could come down the will to fight. If it looks hopeless, the Ukrainians might give up. OTOH a lot of the Russian soldiers -from intercepted messages and a few deserters-have no will to fight and don’t see the point of the war. Contract soldiers can refuse deployment if it is not a war, and it is ‘a special military operation’. There are a trickle according to reports from Russia might it might turn into a flood if and when reports of the numbers of casualties become public.
      What you say about American spending may well be true but the capacity to create a ‘balls -up’ is not confined to the USA.

  11. William Todd
    June 23, 2022 at 18:09

    There is arguably no solution to such unrepresentative government but the destruction of the Democratic establishment which has so many decent progressives in perpetual thrall with the active cooperation of the Republicans in representing a ‘greater evil’ that ‘must be defeated so that the Democrats can continue decades of their own brand of evil (which looks more and more like Republican evil as time goes by save for differences in identity politics in areas which don’t inconvenience corporate donors much).

    Getting rid of Republicans doesn’t accomplish much – just consider what a waste Obama’s first two years as president were even with strong Congressional majorities. Getting rid of establishment Democrats (including those who can be counted on to support the leadership when they’re really needed) would leave room for legitimately strong progressives to replace them inside or outside the party (something which the party establishment bitterly opposes during party primaries). May make for a slightly bumpier ride over the short term but holds out some promise for a better trip overall (and given that the party is due for some serious losses later this year it may be a particularly good opportunity to try it out while a presidential veto could still create some nominal balance).

  12. June 23, 2022 at 16:34

    “Granting $37 billion to a war machine that can’t even pass an audit — or win a war — while saying that we ‘can’t afford’ what American families and communities need is quintessential hypocrisy,” .

  13. June 23, 2022 at 16:08

    Now I want to deal with the third evil that constitutes the dilemma of our nation and the world. And that is the evil of war. Somehow these three evils are tied together. The triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. The great problem and the great challenge facing mankind today is to get rid of war.
    – Rev. Dr. M.L. King

  14. Realist
    June 23, 2022 at 15:58

    This is just the first tranche of money they will need to finance the world war they have planned. There is no other explanation that makes any sense.

  15. JonnyJames
    June 23, 2022 at 15:45

    The Evil Empire has unlimited trillions for war, weapons (that often don’t work as advertised) war crimes, and massive atrocities. They also have plenty to subsidize BigOil, BigPharma, BigAg, and BigTech and the Too Big To Fail, Too Powerful to Jail Bankster financial oligarchy.

    Any thing that would benefit the 99% is “too expensive” and “bad for the economy” When discussing Medicare For All, it is widely acknowledged that the US would save 100s of billions annually, yet this was “too expensive”? Expensive for whom? WTF?

    Meanwhile the US ranks dead last among OECD countries when it comes to health care, labor conditions, benefits etc. Dead Last!

    The end result of decades of asset-stripping by the oligarchy will result in a collapsed empire and the emergence of neo-feudal debt peonage. That’s if the kakistocrat politicians don’t start up a full-blown nuclear war. We are almost there… Sorry for the comparison, but this rhymes with late 4th century Rome – but Rome did not have ICBMs with MIRVs

    On the bright side, if you have good food to eat, a house to live in and reasonable medical care – count yourself very fortunate and be thankful.

    The imperial kleptocrats and the oligarchy they represent will continue to asset-strip the US domestic economy until

  16. John R
    June 23, 2022 at 14:55

    The Democratic bigwigs could not care less what any progressive thinks about anything.

    • renate
      June 23, 2022 at 23:21

      With a few exceptions, our politicians of both parties are shysters, the same is true of all the NATO member-states. The war in Ukraine drives the point home, the USA is the actual war party against Russia while NATO and de facto NATO Ukraine are the proxies. All Zelensky does is pass the hat to collect the money which Biden throws around like confetti making sure Zelensky does not negotiate a compromise ending the slaughter of the Ukrainian people. It is Biden’s war, he knows wars have consequences. This nation needs a regime change. The NATO members, Europe, will pay dearly for being Biden’s demolition team.

  17. Drew Hunkins
    June 23, 2022 at 14:26

    This is all beyond shameful. There are no words for every angle to this. 1.) The struggling US population is in no position to be frittering away resources on an international death machine, 2.) That it’s going to Russophobic Ukie fascists to blatantly target civilians; repugnant.

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