House Passes $740 Billion Defense Appropriations in the Middle of a Pandemic

WASHINGTON – Win Without War Executive Director Stephen Miles released the following statement regarding the House’s passage of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 Appropriations Minibus (H.R. 7617):

“A $740 billion Pentagon budget is inhumane at any time. In the midst of a pandemic — as people across the country struggle to make rent, to pay their bills, to survive a deadly disease — it should be unthinkable. Once again, the House has voted to put the interests of weapons manufacturers and war hawks over the wellbeing of people here and abroad.

“Though last week’s votes on whether or not to cut the Pentagon budget by ten percent were hopeful signs of the shifting tides on Pentagon spending, this Appropriations bill is a reminder that there remains much to be done. We are also disappointed that House Democrats have decided to once again couple passage of a bill that fuels militarism abroad with bills that fund our priorities at home, forfeiting the ability to challenge the former without undermining the latter.

“There are, however, significant bright spots in this legislation, including: 

  • Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-CA) provisions to repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force, which have for too long acted as blank checks for the United States’ endless wars.
  • Rep. Barbara Lee’s provision to require congressional authorization for war with Iran.
  • Rep. Speier’s (D-CA) amendment to prevent the Department of Defense from spending funds to implement a ban on military service of transgender Americans. 

“We are also glad that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill did not move forward as a part of this minibus. DHS has long been a force of abuse for BIPOC, immigrant, Muslim, and other impacted communities, and at a bare minimum should not be funded while its powers are being abused to violently repress legitimate protests.

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