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  • The U.S. is projected to spend close to US$660 billion on non-defense, compared to the US$740 billion for the Pentagon. 

    The U.S. is projected to spend close to US$660 billion on non-defense, compared to the US$740 billion for the Pentagon.  | Photo: AFP

Published 14 June 2020
Opinion

The proposed amendment will slash around US$74 billion from the military budget proposed by the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act.

United States Senator Bernie Sanders announced Friday he will introduce an amendment in the coming days to cut the Department of Defense’s US$740 billion budget by 10 percent and redirect that money toward healthcare, housing, and education in the poorest communities. 

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"Instead of spending US$740 billion on the Dept. of Defense, let's rebuild communities at home devastated by poverty and incarceration," the Vermont senator tweeted.

The proposed amendment will slash around US$74 billion from the military budget proposed by the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2021. 

The annual defense policy bill passed the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 25-2 and is expected to reach the Senate floor next week. 

But the progressive senator is not the only member of Congress pushing for substantial cuts to the military budget. A group of 29 House Democrats demanded last month a substantial reduction of the Pentagon budget to fight against the COVID-19.

"Year after year, the Pentagon budget has inflated to historic levels while the vital needs of everyday people are left unmet," Congresswoman Barbara Lee said, adding that "it’s long past time that we address our bloated military budget and retarget resources towards policies and programs that matter the most for keeping us safe, healthy, and secure."

As Politico reported Thursday the NDAA authorizes "US$636.4 billion for the base Pentagon budget, US$69 billion for overseas operations, and US$25.9 billion for national security programs under the Energy Department.” 

If Sanders' amendment is added to the bill, the U.S. would spend more on non-defense discretionary programs for the fiscal year 2021, as the country is projected to spend close to US$660 billion on non-defense, compared to the US$740 billion for the Pentagon. 

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