Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement after House Republicans passed the FY2014 Defense Appropriations Act, a bill to fund the Department of Defense for the next fiscal year:
“Republicans passed a bloated defense budget today that spends money on weapons programs the Pentagon doesn’t want. This comes a week after they voted to cut funding to feed America’s neediest children. The United States needs a leaner but more capable military able to defeat 21st-century threats. We also need to invest in jobs, education and affordable healthcare for working families. Republicans wrongly decided today that we can’t have both.
“The Republican bill spends $47 billion more than the sequester-prescribed cap on defense spending allows and includes an additional $85 billion for overseas contingency operations, primarily to fund the war in Afghanistan.The bill increases spending on outdated programs and does little to help the 650,000 civilian Defense Department employees already being furloughed.
“This bill is a missed opportunity to invest in what we need and cut what we don’t. In real terms, we actually spend more on defense today than we did on average during the Cold War. The Cold War is over. Our troops are out of Iraq. The war in Afghanistan is winding down. The security landscape we face today is radically different from 30 years ago, yet Republicans still want to spend like it’s 1985.
“Republicans have asked working Americans to give up early education for their children, routine doctors appointments for their families and income security for their grandparents, while they spend billions on programs the Department of Defense doesn’t want or need. Preparing for wars that have already ended won’t feed our children. Investing in working families will.”