Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. spoke on the Senate floor last week to advocate for amendments he introduced to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would fundamentally overhaul the Pentagon budget, which exceeds $740 billion this year.
Military spending, now higher than the next 11 nations combined, represents more than half of all federal discretionary spending, said Sanders. The Pentagon budget, he added, has exploded under President Trump, increasing by more than $100 billion in annual spending compared to military budgets under President Obama. In his floor remarks, Sanders called for a 10% cut to the Pentagon budget to invest the savings in distressed communities; the production and distribution of free face masks to every American household; and an independent audit of the Defense Department.
“At a time when more Americans have died from the coronavirus than were killed fighting in World War I, when over 30 million Americans have lost their jobs in recent months, when tens of millions of Americans are in danger of being evicted from their homes, when education in America from childcare to graduate school is in desperate need of reform, when over half a million Americans are homeless, and when close to 100 million people are either uninsured or under-insured— now is the time to invest in our people,” Sanders said. “That means jobs, education, housing, healthcare, and clean air and water right here at home.”
“If the horrific pandemic we are now experiencing has taught us anything it is that national security means a lot more than building bombs, missiles, jet fighters, tanks, submarines, nuclear warheads and other weapons of mass destruction,” Sanders added. “National security also means doing everything we can to improve the lives of our people, many of whom have been abandoned by our government decade after decade.”