World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Day After Voting Down 10% Pentagon Cut, 37 Senate Dems Join GOP To Approve $740 Billion War Budget

"I don't want to hear anyone tell me that we can't afford to expand enhanced unemployment benefits when we spend more on endless wars than the next ten countries combined," said Rep. Ro Khanna.

by Julia Conley

Protesters march against U.S. military intervention and spending. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr/cc)

Hours after the Republican Party released a coronavirus relief proposal including $0 for election assistance funding and no additional funding for cities and states as the country continues to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, allocating $740.5 billion to the Pentagon.

The annual military budget bill was passed with a vote of 86-14, with 37 Democrats joining the Republicans in supporting the proposal. View the full roll call here.

Progressives including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.),and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) voted against the bill.

The bill was passed a day after an amendment proposed by Sanders and Markey to cut the Pentagon's budget by 10% and redirect that funding toward significant investments in education, healthcare, and housing in poor communities—was rejected in the Senate, with a majority of Democrats siding with the GOP.

Democrats in the House also overwhelmingly joined Republicans to block a similar amendment put forward by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.).

The Senate bill includes $636.4 billion for the Pentagon's base budget, $25.9 billion for national security programs within the Department of Energy, and $69 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations account.

President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the bill—on the grounds that it includes an amendment, introduced by Warren, to rename military bases which memorialize Confederate figures—but the budget was passed with more than two-thirds of the Senate's support, a veto-proof majority.

The House and Senate are now expected to reconcile their two versionsof the NDAA; the House bill includes a 3% pay raise for troops and $3.6 billion to combat China.

Earlier on Thursday, the GOP released its proposal for the next coronavirus relief bill, stipulating that the party would not approve the continuation of the full $600 boost in unemployment insurance, included in the CARES Act in March, which helped keep millions of Americans out of poverty in the first months of the pandemic.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who joined other progressives in the House in voting against the NDAA, reacted with disgust at the misplaced priorities made evident by the Pentagon budget's Senate approval and the GOP's proposal on Covid-19 relief.

Paul Kawika Martin, senior director and policy and political affairs at Peace Action, called on Democrats who continuously support hundreds of billions of dollars in military spending "take note that voters want government spending to put 'people over Pentagon.'"

"We should prioritize eradicating poverty, not war," wrote Markey on Wednesday, after the amendment he introduced failed in the Senate. "We should prioritize battling global-killer diseases, not developing new weapons designed to eradicate the human race. It is time we fund education, not annihilation. Medicaid, not missiles."

Julia Conley is a staff writer at Common Dreams.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: UN Censures ‘heinous Attacks’ In Lake Chad Basin

Conflict over many years has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in north-east Cameroon. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe The Secretary-General strongly condemned “heinous attacks” against civilians in the Lake Chad Basin, a UN spokesperson ... More>>

South Africa: COVID-19 Pandemic Raises The Urgency Of Structural Reforms

South Africa responded swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the sharp drop in activity adds to long-standing challenges and raises the urgency of structural reforms, according to a new OECD report released today. In the latest Economic Survey of South Africa ... More>>

United Nations: ‘Immediate Humanitarian Assistance’ To Support Beirut

The response to Tuesday’s explosion in Beirut requires global support in order to “surmount the devastating impact” of the crisis facing the Lebanese people, the UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the country said on Thursday. More>>

UN Experts: Turkey Should Preserve Hagia Sophia As Space For Meeting Of Cultures

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul should be maintained as an inter-cultural space reflecting the diversity and complexity of Turkey and its history, and preserving the outstanding universal value which resulted in its World Heritage Status, say two UN human rights ... More>>