Defense Spending - Let's get real folks and do the right thing.

Pete Stark,

Forwarded me the following, and he’s right. Let’s focuses on building good values and opportunities.




Congress passed a $636 billion defense spending bill in December.  The  bill included almost $137 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan — which  doesn't even include the cost of the 30,000 additional troops  announced by the President.  I have never voted for a Defense spending  bill in my career in Congress, and I did not vote for this one.

The President now wants to freeze non-military spending for three  years, ignoring that defense is the biggest source of waste in our  budget.  Much of the money in the 2010 spending bill is for projects  the Pentagon doesn't want -— like $2.5 billion in unrequested funds  for C-17 aircraft, and $465 million for a new jet engine for the Joint  Strike Fighter.  We are still spending $10.3 billion on missile  defense systems that don't work.

The United States accounted for 41.5 percent of the world's military  spending in 2008.  China was second, and they spent seven times less  than we did.  According to the National Priorities Project, for the  amount we spend on defense, we would have more than enough money to:

  • Pay for health reform that will ensure quality coverage for 97  percent of Americans;
  • Give the maximum Pell Grant to all 14.2 million college students in  the country;
  • Power all 106 million homes in America with renewable electricity;
  • Build 500,000 affordable housing units;
  • Hire 1,000,000 new elementary school teachers, 1,000,000 new police  officers, and 1,000,000 new firefighters;
  • Provide Early Head Start and Head Start places for all 20.9 million  children under the age of 5.

The defense spending bill did include two unrelated provisions that I  support.  The bill extends emergency unemployment insurance benefits  until the end of February, and extends a temporary program that  provides COBRA subsidies to help unemployed workers maintain their  health insurance.

These are important provisions that are helping jobless workers  struggling in the recession.  They were in the Jobs for Main Street  bill (H.R. 2847) that also passed the House in December, which I  supported.  However, I could not support a bill where the good  provisions are dwarfed by hundreds of billions in spending on defense.






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