Social Justice Groups Demand Congress Slash Military Budget, Spend Money on People, Peace, Planet

Glen Davis, Jill Stein (back row), Kymone Freeman, Cheri Honkala, Leslie Ortiz (front row)

Glen Davis, Jill Stein (back row), Kymone Freeman, Cheri Honkala, Leslie Ortiz (front row)

In spite of heavy, wet snow falling on Capitol Hill, a coalition of peace, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, environmental and community groups came together to voice its objections to what it calls “runaway, dangerous military spending.”

In a press conference in the Cannon Office Building, speakers called on the Congressional Budgetary Committee to pass a budget resolution that re-directs military spending to domestic needs that serve “people, peace and the planet.” They then presented their proposed budget and supporting petitions to staffers of  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Co-Chair of the Budgetary Committee.

After a stand-off on the budget resulting in a government shutdown in October, the Committee has until December 13 to re-negotiate some of the automatic sequestration cuts coming up next year. As it is, the Pentagon budget is due for about a 10% reduction, or $52 billion. Jill Stein of the Green Party’s Shadow Cabinet said that’s not nearly enough.

“We cannot both feed the hungry and feed our children, feed our elders, feed us and fill this absolutely bottomless pit of the military machine,” she said.

In its proposed “Peace-People-Planet” budget, the coalition outlines ten ways to slash military spending by 25 to 50%, including changing U.S. military policy (“stop policing the world”), ceasing to buy unnecessary weapons systems, and auditing wasteful practices at the Pentagon.

Taxpayer dollars should be used instead to fund social programs, job initiatives and actions to combat climate change, press conference speakers said.

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