Once again, Congress is headed toward a budget showdown and possibly another shutdown. On February 8th, the recently agreed to short-term funding extension that has kept the government open will expire. This was the fourth short-term fix since September, and another one is likely as Congress continues working on a long term budget agreement for 2018.
Members of Congress are seeking to raise spending limits for the military while leaving non-defense spending – everything from Meals on Wheels to WIC to infrastructure dollars – behind. We cannot allow this to happen.
In the coming weeks, we expect Congress will make a deal to raise the budget caps that were placed on defense and nondefense spending through the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA). This act has ensured a degree of parity in spending between the Pentagon and a range of programs that uplift vulnerable communities. Through the BCA, the threat of sequestration (automatic cuts) helped constrain some defense spending, but it is increasingly looking like this will change.
Defense hawks are pushing to increase Pentagon spending by roughly $80 billion for 2018 (this does not include the full cost of war which is funded outside the base budget). Such an increase is not only unnecessary -- it is immoral. The U.S. already has the largest and most expensive military in the world, dwarfing all others. With only four percent of the world’s population, we are responsible for 36 percent of global military spending.
Our priorities must change. As a Just Peace Church, we believe that a durable peace comes not through military solutions, but rather comes through investing in people, in diplomacy and development. Tell your member of Congress today that you demand we prioritize human security over hyper-militarism in our budget.