Today a bipartisan budget deal to fund the federal government for FY 2022 was announced. The deal provides $730 billion in domestic spending vs. $782 billion for the military and war. National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies released the following statement:
The budget deal announced today repeats a longtime pattern by putting more resources into the military and war than into K-12 education, affordable housing, public health, scientific and medical research, early childhood education and care, and homelessness combined. This continued special treatment for the Pentagon recklessly squanders precious resources that could be used to strengthen our families and communities. Even as war rages in Ukraine, a higher military budget can only risk a larger war; it can’t promote real solutions and alleviation of suffering through diplomacy and humanitarian aid.
The country faces compounding crises at home. Families are fearful for their economic security. The pandemic has not yet ended. Schools and hospitals face ongoing staffing shortages. The opioid epidemic is raging. And our dependence on oil continues to fuel the climate crisis, while subjecting families to wild price swings and supporting corrupt authoritarian states. Increasing military spending does nothing to address these problems.
Yet under President Biden and the current Congress, military spending will increase from $740 billion in FY 2021 (approved under President Trump) to $782 billion today. Military spending is now nearly 30 percent higher than it was under President Obama’s last budget.
The budget deal also prioritizes militarization at home, as it continues Trump-era policies and funding for immigration enforcement under ICE and CBP, the agencies responsible for family separations and millions of deportations in recent years, and even maintains prior funding for Trump’s inhumane and destructive border wall.
Military, weapons and detention contractors are the biggest winners in this budget. In recent years, more than half of all military spending has gone to for-profit, private contractors. The new spending bill promises to continue this windfall, providing for even more expensive weapons system than the Pentagon requested, and promising to continue lucrative contracts for immigrant detention and surveillance.
The military spending increase comes at a time of worldwide concern over the violent and inexcusable Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the humanitarian crisis it has provoked. President Biden has wisely decided not to risk nuclear war by sending U.S. troops or air power to engage militarily with Russia. This crisis requires generous humanitarian aid and diplomatic intervention to preserve human life and prevent a larger war.
And the vast majority of military spending in this bill is not about Ukraine. The $6.5 billion in this bill for Department of Defense funding to counter the Ukraine invasion represents less than one percent of military spending in the bill.
Our longstanding patterns of spending on war have failed to prevent a disastrous war in Europe, while enriching corporate profiteers. And yet conservatives in Congress have insisted on a dollar-for-dollar match in any funding increases between domestic and military spending, leaving real needs unfunded.
Over the last two years, Congressional opposition to unlimited Pentagon budgets and abusive immigrant detention practices has grown. But this deal is a sign that there is still a long way to go before our funding priorities match our needs.
The National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies fights for a federal budget that prioritizes peace, economic opportunity, and shared prosperity for all. NPP at IPS helps Americans understand where their tax dollars are going, and explore how Pentagon spending could be put to better use for domestic priorities.
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