Madison Tang | CODEPINK China campaign coordinator | [email protected] | (714) 337-5375
Carley Towne | CODEPINK Co-Director | [email protected]| (909)-809-8104
May 28th, 2021- CODEPINK, a women-led peace organization, calls on Congress to reject President Biden’s record-high FY 2022 military budget of $753 billion, a $13 billion increase over the Trump administration's previous spendthrift military budget. In supporting a minimum 10% reduction in Pentagon spending, CODEPINK noted the annual savings could eradicate hunger and homelessness each year in the United States.
“To spend nearly a trillion dollars to prepare for war pulls back the curtain on the Biden administration’s professed interest in lifting people out of poverty,” says Carley Towne, CODEPINK co-director. “While millions of Americans are steeped in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, facing eviction and struggling to pay medical bills amidst an ongoing health pandemic and recession, the Administration hurls taxpayer dollars at an increasingly privatized for-profit war industry.”
Biden’s budget includes upwards of $30 billion for new nuclear weapons slated to cost $1.7 trillion over the next decades, billions for the F-35 fighter jet, a boondoggle with an eventual $1-2 trillion price tag, $17.4 billion for an unnecessary Space Force and at least $51.5 billion annually to maintain over 800 overseas bases and establish new ones in the Indo-Pacific, where the Biden administration’s pivot to Asia sets us on a reckless and dangerous course toward war with China.
President Biden’s final Pentagon budget request signals alarming continuity with the Trump Administration which, over the course of four years, increased the Pentagon budget by $133 billion with bipartisan Congressional approval.
In light of the Biden Administration’s announcement that the United States will be withdrawing troops from Afghanistan by September 2021, the Pentagon budget should reflect a corresponding $50 billion reduction.
Instead, Biden’s proposed Pentagon budget of $753 would provide the Department of Defense with more money than the Departments of State, Justice, Education, Transportation, Health and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency combined.
At the same time that Biden is set to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Biden and Congress are using China as the justification for this massive increase in military spending by framing China as a danger to the U.S. and its allies. Biden’s proposed Pentagon budget identifies China as a “top challenge,” and Secretary of Defense Austin has stated, “China is our pacing threat.” In reality, the inflated threat of China’s military pales in comparison to the United States military: the U.S. has over 800 overseas military bases, hundreds of which surround the borders of China; China currently has only one official overseas military base, located in Djibouti.
“This same tactic of threat inflation led us to the U.S.’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq in 2003. The consequences of that intervention were not only horrific overseas but also proved deadly and harmful for Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and Muslim-perceived communities,” said Madison Tang, coordinator of CODEPINK’s China Is Not Our Enemy campaign. “Today, we are already seeing the consequences of this escalation of war with China in the form of Sinophobic violence that targets Asians and Asian Americans of various ethnicities across the U.S. Anti‐Asian violence has increased 194% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2020, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. This pattern of heightened xenophobia and scapegoating of a minority group as a corollary to U.S. imperialist wars is not new, and must be challenged.”
“This push for rearmament, including hundreds of new land -based intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine mounted tactical nuclear weapons, comes amid concern the Biden administration’s heated anti-China rhetoric and policies could plunge us into a nuclear war,” said Marcy Winograd, coordinator of CODEPINK Congress, a campaign to mobilize co-sponsors for progressive foreign policy legislation. “There is no law of gravity, however, that compels President Biden or Congress to continue funding the drive for nuclear rearmament or global omnicide.”
At the end of the day, the Federal budget is up to Congress to decide, not the President. We call on Congress to reduce the Pentagon budget by at least 10% and instead invest in what will truly make us safe: universal healthcare, good jobs, and addressing the climate crisis.
It’s now more important than ever to contact your representatives and send them the CODEPINK guide to Pentagon budget cuts to demand that they show their support to reduce the Pentagon budget and invest in human needs!
Additional Quotes and Reactions on Biden’s Proposed Pentagon Budget from the International Community:
"The way the US budget overemphasizes the military hurts the American people and the world. A tiny fraction of the money that President Biden is proposing for the military budget would save the lives of millions of children in Yemen. Wouldn’t that be a better investment in the future than more bombs, warships and nuclear weapons?" - Aisha Jumaan, President, Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation
“This enormous Pentagon budget will only lead to more military conflicts, more bloodshed, more grief. We saw enough of that in Afghanistan for the last 20 years. It's time to invest in peace.” - Basir Bita, local activist in Kabul Afghanistan
“There are many places where the U.S. could and should spend more money. At least it can start by paying for some of the huge damages it has caused to the people in this country and abroad in the last several centuries. Increasing the military budget, however, only makes everything worse.” - Dr. Xu, Professor of Economics at John Jay College, CUNY, former Professor of Economics at Renmin University of China, and Chinese citizen
“An increase in the US defense budget will mean the deployment and/or testing of US weapons in South Korea, which endangers the lives of residents near US bases. US military buildup has led to a perpetual arms race including nuclear weapons and nuclear threats in Northeast Asia. The deployment of the US THAAD missile defense system in South Korea in 2017 has raised tension in the region and is opposed by many South Koreans. Villagers near the new THAAD base have been protesting everyday against the illegal deployment. I join in the call to the Biden administration to reduce the US defense budget and invest in human security: Withdraw tension-raising weapon systems from Korea and end the more than 70-year-old Korean War with a peace agreement.” - YouKyoung Ko, a consultant for Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and women-led Korea Peace Now! Campaign, and a standing committee member of the Korea Peace Appeal Campaign.
“The United States military continues to negatively impact the lives of people who have never consented to the U.S. military presence, particularly in island nations in the Asia Pacific region such as Hawaii, Okinawa, and the Marianas. The military presence places the people of these nations in mortal danger of annihilation, as was demonstrated in 2018 via the false ballistic missile alert in Hawaii, proving that the U.S. military is incapable of protecting us. Furthermore, the military creates a burden in numerous other ways, such as through crime, pollution, and economic deprivation.” - Robert Kajiwara, founder of the Peace for Okinawa Coalition
“We, members of the International Women's Network against Militarism, unequivocally oppose the proposed Biden Pentagon budget. Spending nearly 50% of the US discretionary budget (more than the next 10 countries combined) demonstrates the destructive priorities of a society committed more to world military domination than care of its people and the natural environment. Increased militarization in the US and abroad will only create more insecurities, fear, and destruction--both at home and abroad especially in places of massive US military presence such as Okinawa and Guam. We urge the Biden-Harris administration to withdraw the current proposal and formulate one that will ensure full healthcare, quality education, and environmental protection,” -International Women’s Network Against Militarism
"As the US increases its Pentagon budget to $753 billion, it is intensifying its new cold war against China. With less than a third of that budget, China ended extreme poverty, uplifting the remaining 100 million poor people since 2013. This is the reality – a policy that prioritizes war and death over human life and dignity." - Tings Chak, researcher, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and Dongsheng News