ACTION ALERT: The President's Asking for MORE Money for War?
January 30, 2015 Friends Committee on National Legislation & Pentagon Choices.com
In negotiations, the most important offer is often the first; it's the baseline for every other proposal. The president's budget request sets the tone for budget negotiations this year. We already know a lot about what the president will propose: approximately $500 billion for the Pentagon and an additional war "slush fund" -- called the "Overseas Contingency Operations" -- to pay for the expanding wars in Iraq and Syria and other expenditures that can't squeeze into that huge figure.
The President's Asking for MORE Money for War? Friends Committee on National Legislation
(January 28, 1205) -- In negotiations, the most important offer is often the first; it's the baseline for every other proposal. The president's budget request, released every year at the beginning of February, is that opening offer. It won't become law -- legislation has to come from Congress -- but it sets the tone for budget negotiations this year.
We already know a lot about what the president will propose: Beyond the approximately $500 billion for the Pentagon, President Obama will ask Congress next Monday for a war slush fund (Overseas Contingency Operations) to pay for the expanding war in Iraq and Syria and other expenditures that can't squeeze into that huge figure.
As Della Anderson wrote late last year, "To increase transparency, wars should be funded using money that is already in the Pentagon's base budget, that way the government can take an honest look at the state of our budget."
War funding has long been the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. It seems far more urgent to lawmakers to protect so-called national security (despite evidence that strikes aren't making us safer) than to improve education, develop the economy and help people living in poverty. But those are the programs that are "integral to the health and prosperity of the US public."
Because the president's budget request covers the entire budget, all of our lobbyists are paying attention. Here's more of what they'd like to see in the budget proposal:
Protect or increase funding: Environmental Protection Agency funding; the Green Climate Fund; funding for nuclear weapons reductions under the New START Treaty; nuclear nonproliferation funding; funding for the Palestinian Authority; Complex Crises Fund at US Agency for International Development; Conflict Stabilization Operations at the State Department.
Eliminate or decrease funding: Overall military budget; Pentagon's "slush fund," known as Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO); New nuclear weapons, including the B61 nuclear bomb and a new nuclear cruise missile; F-35 fighter jet; prison bed quota for deportations.
(November 24/2014) -- The White House's announcement that the Obama Administration would seek an increase of $5.6 million dollars in Overseas Contingency Operations account funding to pay for its campaign against ISIS may have a few people wondering where this magical money is coming from at a time when the Pentagon seems to be so hard up for cash.
For months now, hawkish headlines have played upon the fear of the American public -- calling for more funding for military operations in Iraq and Syria and cautioning against the perils of an underfunded Pentagon. These headlines, depicting an emaciated sequester-stricken military budget, obscure an even scarier truth; they hide the fact that the Pentagon has largely side-stepped the effects of sequestration through the OCO account, unchecked by Congress.
The decision to use OCO funding to pay for the campaign against ISIS reinforces a bad budgetary strategy and calls into question the priorities of the nation. The already OCO-subsidized Pentagon has taken to heart the old adage "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" and is greasing itself up to drown out the pleas for funding of essential programs in the non-defense discretionary budget that are struggling without a slush fund to use as a life-saver.
The programs in the non-defense discretionary fund are essential to the wellbeing of our nation. They include education, health care and programs that support economic development. These types of programs are integral to the health and prosperity of the American public.
To increase transparency, wars should be funded using money that is already in the Pentagon's base budget, that way the government can take an honest look at the state of our budget. Let's redefine our national priorities, recognizing that war is not the answer-- especially not at the stake of the programs that promote the economic and social wellbeing of the American people. Case in Point:
We're Paying $1.5 Trillion for a Military Jet That Doesn't Work Pentagon Choices.com
(January 7, 2015) -- A recent article by James Fallows of The Atlantic delves into the disconnect between the military and the general public, which allows the United States to be drawn in to wars we shouldn't be fighting and spend "too much money" on the Pentagon and "spend it stupidly."
The example Mr. Fallows points to that exemplifies the stupidity of our military spending is the $1.5 trillion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter -- the most expensive weapon in history.
By most accounts the F-35 program has been a complete and abject failure. It was supposed to be the plane that could do everything, and yet can barely do anything. The F-35 "has trouble flying at night, its engines have exploded during takeoff, and early models suffered structural cracks."
It is years behind schedule, suffers from serious design flaws, and its cost overruns alone have wasted 100 times what was spent on Solyndra. When (if?) the F-35 ever achieves "operational" status, its capabilities will be 10 years behind those of our current jets, and will be flying without the use of its guns.
Yet there seems to be no stopping the F-35 (this map shows why).
As the American Friends Service Committee points out, the cost of just one year of this program could fund the $8 billion cut from food assistance programs for low-income families.
With Republicans vowing to increase military spending (likely at the expense of vital social programs and those who rely on them), Americans need to become more involved in how Congress and the Pentagon spend (and waste) our tax dollars. Letting your representatives know how you feel about the F-35 is a great place to start.
The F-35 is a Bad Deal for America! Win Without War and CREDO
The F-35 is the poster child for what's wrong in Washington. At an outrageous cost of $1.5 trillion, it is the most expensive weapon program the world has ever seen. Even worse, it doesn't work as intended and funnels money away from other priorities needed to fight 21st century threats and strengthen America. Yet Lockheed Martin -- maker of the F-35 -- is determined to protect its cash cow by pressuring Congress to keep the F-35 alive. Already, our voices are being heard in the halls of Congress.
Over 105,000 activists have signed our petition on CREDO asking Congress to withdraw funding for the F-35 boondoggle. And, on March 26, the House Armed Services Committee held a budget hearing to question, in part, why the F-35 isn’t living up to its grand promises. You can bet that Lockheed Martin has its army of lobbyists on the Hill fighting to keep its record profits, so it’s critical that Congress hears from you.