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“Rising Defense Budgets are Not a New Law of Physics”

February 23, 2010

This was the message from Dr. Cindy Williams in her testimony in the Senate Budget Committee today at a hearing entitled: “Defense Budget and War Costs: An Independent Look.” Another witness, Dr. Gordan Adams, stated explicitly: “…the defense budget should not be exempt from a freeze.”

In his opening statement, Chairman Conrad (ND) pointed out that Defense spending is taking an ever-growing portion of federal government spending; it is higher in the President’s budget request for FY2011 than peaks during the Reagan build-up, the Korean War and the Vietnam war.

The Our Nation’s Checkbook campaign led by FCNL, has been working to change this imbalance in spending. We, along with organizers around the country and a coalition of national organizations, are pushing for hearings in the House and Senate Budget Committees on spending priorities, recognizing that the budget committees are really the place where spending priorities are set. Today’s hearing was not the hearing we asked for, but it was certainly a step in the right direction.

Chairman Conrad (ND) recognized the critical responsibility of the budget committees, saying: “This is the Budget Committee and we have a responsibility to take the President’s budget request and rework it and turn it into a budget resolution that considers all the trade-offs that we confront.” Dr. Adams pointed out the risks of a rising defense budget very clearly: “An unconstrained defense budget is likely to make draconian choices in all other areas of discretionary spending necessary.” As the Pentagon budget increases, other spending priorities are being squeezed.

Human needs, the environment and efforts to prevent war are absolutely essential to create real security in this nation and around the world. These priorities cannot take back seat to more Pentagon and war spending. As evidenced by the hearing today, there is a growing movement even within Congress to reevaluate Pentagon spending. Check out recent Our Nation’s Checkbook successes and join the campaign to reprioritize federal government spending by emailing Stephen at stephen@fcnl.org.


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