Jul 20, 2020
Defense Drumbeat

Today, House Progressives will offer an amendment to cut $73 billion in an attempt to defund America’s military. The amendment exempts military personnel accounts, the Defense Health Program, and civilian personnel accounts, forcing a 16% cut across-the-board in all other accounts. The amendment would cause a reduction twice size of sequestration. It also violates the bipartisan budget agreement of last year which most House Progressives supported.

The Pentagon Isn’t the Problem
Defense spending is not the driver of America’s debt. DOD spending represents about 15% of federal spending overall, one of the lowest levels since World War II. Military spending makes up about 3.2% of GDP. During the Cold War, military spending was between 5 and 10% of GDP. While the $73 billion Progressives want to cut is just .01% of all federal spending, it is absolutely critical to the Department of Defense.

This Cut Will Hurt the Troops and America’s Security

Damaging Readiness: The Pocan Amendment functions like a sequester, only twice as bad. Sequestration created huge readiness shortfalls, sometimes with fatal consequences. We are only now beginning to recover from that readiness crisis but, as the five crashes of Air Force jets since May demonstrate, our recovery is fragile. Now is not the time to double down on that damage by:

  • Cutting $20 billion from operating forces, including eliminating a large number of critical training events needed to strengthen our partnerships and alliances in the Pacific;
  • Cutting $3.6 billion from pilot training, flying hour programs, and aviation operations;
  • Cutting $3.4 billion from depot maintenance, shipyards, and reset accounts;
  • Cutting $4.5 billion from accounts that maintain military facilities around the world; and
  • Cutting $1.3 billion from military construction accounts.

Dulling our Competitive Edge: The Pocan Amendment would cut funds dedicated to research and development, including cutting $17 billion from accounts critical to developing Artificial Intelligence capabilities, hypersonic weapons, chemical and biological defense, and missile defense. These are areas where it is essential that we maintain our competitive edge, but where we may have already fallen behind Russia and China. 
Hurt Military Families: The Pocan Amendment will cut $216 million from military housing programs$184 million in commissary funding, millions in cuts to military family programs, and over $400 million from the Department of Defense Dependent Education Program

Devastate Environmental and Pandemic Programs: The Pocan Amendment would cut $924 million from Defense Nuclear Related Environmental Cleanup, including $145 million from the Hanford Site in Washington State. It would also cut $180 million from environmental restoration and pollution prevention accounts- including PFAS remediation- and $160 million from pandemic preparedness.

116th Congress