House measure seeks to rein in wasteful Pentagon spending, redirect funds to critical basic needs 


February 22, 2023

Today Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) reintroduced the People Over Pentagon Act, which would cut $100 billion in defense spending and reallocate the funds to human needs programs. 

In a statement, Lee said $100 billion “could power every U.S. household with solar energy; hire one million elementary school teachers amid a worsening teacher shortage; provide free college tuition for two out of three public college students; or cover medical care for seven million veterans.” 

“Our national priorities are reflected in our spending,” Lee said. “I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ask themselves what would truly provide more benefit to the people of this country: another outdated weapons system, or greater access to basic needs in our communities.” 

Pocan added that the legislation “prioritizes urgent needs like health care, education, and infrastructure over padding the pockets of defense contractors.” 

“It’s time to invest in our communities and make meaningful change that reflects our nation’s priorities,” he said. 

The Coalition on Human Needs and a number of CHN member groups and allies have endorsed the bill.  

“The People Over Pentagon Act makes the right choices to keep our nation strong,” CHN Executive Director Deborah Weinstein said in a statement. “It says no to bloated handouts to military contractors and huge sums for failed weapons. It would redirect $100 billion to real investments in our security, enough to hire more teachers and nurses, enroll more children in Head Start, connect households to renewable energy, and more. Throwing huge increases year after year to the Pentagon’s corporate contractors undermines our security by preventing us from investing in the shared prosperity that comes from more health care, ending hunger, more education and jobs.” 

Spending on the Pentagon, including work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy and emergency military aid to Ukraine is expected to total at least $894 billion during the current fiscal year. Experts say that if current trends continue, it will not be long before defense spending exceeds $1 trillion per year. 

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