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ACTION ALERT: Congress to Vote on Nearly $1 Trillion Pentagon Spending Cuts


March 15, 2013
Friends Committee on National Legislation & Progressives United

Next week, your representative will vote for the first time in nearly two years on a proposal that would cut about $900 billion out of the Pentagon budget and invest that money in creating millions of jobs and rebuilding our infrastructure. While this plan will probably not win approval in the full chamber, the number of votes the plan receives will be an important signal to show support for cutting Pentagon spending and investing in renewing the US economy.

http://fcnl.org/issues/checkbook/action_center/

ACTION ALERT: Congress to Vote on Nearly $1 Trillion Pentagon Spending Cut
Tila Neguse / Friends Committee on National Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC (March 14, 2013) -- Next week, your representative will vote for the first time in nearly two years on a proposal that would cut about $900 billion out of the Pentagon budget and invest that money in creating millions of jobs and rebuilding our infrastructure.

Please call your representative today at 877-429-0678. Ask him or her to vote "yes" on the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget -- a budget that reflects many of the values and principles that we have long advocated.

While this plan will probably not win approval in the full chamber, the number of votes the plan receives will be an important signal to Congress and the president to show support for cutting Pentagon spending and investing in renewing the US economy.

The Progressive Caucus budget will be offered on the floor of the House as a substitute for the House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan's budget plan. The Ryan plan would spare the Pentagon budget while making deeper cuts in health care and food assistance for people living in poverty.

In contrast, the Progressive Caucus budget would:

Return the base Pentagon budget to 2006 levels.

Champion a speedy withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, reduce private contractors, highlight the need for a Pentagon audit and support "decommissioning our Cold War-era nuclear weapons infrastructure."

Use the reductions in Pentagon spending to increase funding for diplomacy and development programs to "provide vital … humanitarian assistance, and increase tools to combat the horrors of drug and human trafficking and nuclear proliferation."

Offer a series of progressive tax reform options that would generate new revenue -- including reforming some corporate taxes, raising rates on high income earners, and enacting a carbon tax with refundable credits to low income families.

Create 7 million jobs in the first year alone.

Please call today at 877-429-0678 to ask your representative to vote "yes" on the Progressive Caucus budget.

Tila Neguse is the FCNL's Legislative Associate for Domestic Issues
Friends Committee on National Legislation
245 2nd Street NE Washington, DC 20002 | 800-630-1330



The "Back to Work" Budget
Tila Neguse / FCNL

(March 14, 2013) -- This week saw the release of two house budget plans that couldn't be more varied on the ideological spectrum. The first, known as "The Path to Prosperity," or the Ryan budget, was introduced by the House Budget Committee and Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-1). The other, "The Back to Work Budget," is an alternative budget plan of the Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chaired by Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-5) and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-3).

Our budget lobbying work here at FCNL over the past two years has been focused on advocating for a trillion dollar cut in Pentagon spending over the next ten years. Throughout this budget crisis in Congress, we have been asking for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that cuts Pentagon spending by $1 trillion dollars over the next ten years, protects domestic human needs programs, restores lost revenues, and makes investments in job creation.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) alternative to the Ryan budget, "The Back to Work Budget" is a truly progressive piece of legislation that highlights many of the principles advocated for by FCNL.

On the Hill, FCNL is known for being the group that talks about Pentagon spending cuts. Throughout these budget negotiations in Congress we have continued to call on the Pentagon to pay its fair share.

We have used Pentagon spending reductions as a lens through which we talk about a variety of other issues impacted by our over-bloated Pentagon budget. The CPC budget brings these things into perspective.

Finally, here is a budget document that not only reflects many of the values and principles we have, but uplifts these issues in a piece of legislation that will see votes on the floor.

Highlights from "The Back to Work Budget:"

Pentagon Spending
This section of the budget states, "There are significant and more responsible savings on par with sequestration levels that can be achieved over the next decade" -- What does that mean? Massive pentagon reductions equivalent to the amount of the across the board spending cuts in sequestration, the amount we have been lobbying for!

The budget also has:
$897 billion in savings in the base Pentagon budget without reductions in military personnel wages or benefits, returning the base budget to 2006 levels.

A speedy withdrawal from Afghanistan, limits FY2014 funding to adequate levels supporting a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan. The budget ends war funding known as OCO (Overseas Contingency Operation) beginning in FY2015.

Significant reductions in private contractor personnel, a need for a Pentagon audit, reductions in expensive weapons systems, and "reducing the nuclear arsenal as outlined by Rep. Ed Markey's SANE ACT."

And what to do with all the money freed up from the Pentagon?

With all the reductions in Pentagon spending, the CPC budget seeks to increase funding for diplomacy and development programs to "provide vital … humanitarian assistance, and increase tools to combat the horrors of drug and human trafficking and nuclear proliferation."

Many of the policy suggestions of this budget document are aligned with FCNL's advocacy for reductions in Pentagon spending. The indiscriminate across the board method of sequestration was never meant to be an effective tool for deficit reduction.

In this budget, the CPC repeals sequestration for the Department of Defense, yet maintains the level of cuts, pairing it with thoughtful and smart policy.

As well, along with massive savings in the Pentagon, this budget offers a series of progressive tax reform options that would generate new revenue, including some corporate tax reform, a $25 per ton carbon tax (with provisions for refundable credits for low income households), as well raising rates on high income earners.

The budget also makes substantial investments in job creation, as the title "Back to Work" implies. The budget will create 7 million jobs in the first year alone through such reforms as providing aid for public works job programs, investing in infrastructure, and reinstating laid-off teachers.

The focus of "The Back to Work" budget is economic stimulus not austerity, as we have seen so much in Congress. Through good spending, responsible revenue, and smart reductions mostly in the Pentagon, this budget not only reduces the deficit by 4.4 trillion, but more importantly frames our budget conversations as a question of priorities.


This plan will be voted on next week. Please call your representative and ask them to vote for the Congressional Progressive Caucus' Back to Work Budget.

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