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Stop Spending on Weapons and Warfare, Start Investing in the American People

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Ms. WOOLSEY. Madam Speaker, this week, the House is debating the Defense appropriations bill, which provides an excellent opportunity to point out something quite ironic about my colleagues in the majority because, Madam Speaker, for all of their talk about getting spending under control, that same rhetoric is surprisingly Ms. WOOLSEY. Madam Speaker, this week, the House is debating the Defense appropriations bill, which provides an excellent opportunity to point out something quite ironic about my colleagues in the majority because, Madam Speaker, for all of their talk about getting spending under control, that same rhetoric is surprisingly absent when we are talking about the Pentagon budget, which we are talking about this week.

You see, they're eager to slash and burn when it comes to programs that invest and support middle class working families, but somehow, when it is time for sacrifice to be shared, the military industrial complex is nowhere to be found. While we have to fight for every penny of domestic spending, the Pentagon simply fills in its amount on a blank check, it appears. So I think we ought to have a dollar-for-dollar match in spending cuts.

I will be offering a series of amendments to the DOD appropriations bill that call for defense cuts in the exact amounts by which other important programs are being reduced.

For example, the proposed Labor-HHS-Education spending bill eliminates the title X program. Title X, the family planning program that historically has been passed with bipartisan support, has provided contraceptive and preventive health services to low-income women for more than 40 years. The Republicans want the title X $294 million investment gone. So let's cut the defense budget by an identical $294 million;

The Ag appropriations bill provides $119 million less than the President requested for WIC--the Women, Infants, and Children's program--which provides badly needed nutrition assistance for poor pregnant women, new mothers, and children up to the age of 5. So, if we are going to shortchange a pillar of our safety net by $119 million, then I believe the Department of Defense can do without that same $119 million.

Here's the big ticket item: the Republican budget. The budget that passed this body in March zeroed out all funding for the Social Services Block Grant, including $1.7 billion in cuts for next year. If my Republican friends believe that we can't afford $1.7 billion next year to provide daycare, housing, home health care, home meal delivery, and other social services, then I say we can also eliminate a corresponding $1.7 billion in defense spending.

The fact is, Madam Speaker, defense cuts are not only fiscally responsible and morally defensible; they're widely popular. USA Today reported yesterday on a new survey that shows that two-thirds of those living in Republican congressional districts believe that the defense budget is too large.

It is no secret that military spending is widely out of control. Let's remember that none of this takes into account the war in Afghanistan, which isn't funded through the appropriations process. On top of the bloated defense budget, American taxpayers are shelling out another $10 billion a month--not a year--for a decade-long war that is failing to advance our national security objective.

It's time to reverse this course. It's time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. It's time for the Pentagon to assume its share of the shared sacrifice. It's time to do the right and the sensible thing: stop spending on weapons and warfare and start investing in the American people. absent when we are talking about the Pentagon budget, which we are talking about this week.

You see, they're eager to slash and burn when it comes to programs that invest and support middle class working families, but somehow, when it is time for sacrifice to be shared, the military industrial complex is nowhere to be found. While we have to fight for every penny of domestic spending, the Pentagon simply fills in its amount on a blank check, it appears. So I think we ought to have a dollar-for-dollar match in spending cuts.

I will be offering a series of amendments to the DOD appropriations bill that call for defense cuts in the exact amounts by which other important programs are being reduced.

For example, the proposed Labor-HHS-Education spending bill eliminates the title X program. Title X, the family planning program that historically has been passed with bipartisan support, has provided contraceptive and preventive health services to low-income women for more than 40 years. The Republicans want the title X $294 million investment gone. So let's cut the defense budget by an identical $294 million;

The Ag appropriations bill provides $119 million less than the President requested for WIC--the Women, Infants, and Children's program--which provides badly needed nutrition assistance for poor pregnant women, new mothers, and children up to the age of 5. So, if we are going to shortchange a pillar of our safety net by $119 million, then I believe the Department of Defense can do without that same $119 million.

Here's the big ticket item: the Republican budget. The budget that passed this body in March zeroed out all funding for the Social Services Block Grant, including $1.7 billion in cuts for next year. If my Republican friends believe that we can't afford $1.7 billion next year to provide daycare, housing, home health care, home meal delivery, and other social services, then I say we can also eliminate a corresponding $1.7 billion in defense spending.

The fact is, Madam Speaker, defense cuts are not only fiscally responsible and morally defensible; they're widely popular. USA Today reported yesterday on a new survey that shows that two-thirds of those living in Republican congressional districts believe that the defense budget is too large.

It is no secret that military spending is widely out of control. Let's remember that none of this takes into account the war in Afghanistan, which isn't funded through the appropriations process. On top of the bloated defense budget, American taxpayers are shelling out another $10 billion a month--not a year--for a decade-long war that is failing to advance our national security objective.

It's time to reverse this course. It's time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. It's time for the Pentagon to assume its share of the shared sacrifice. It's time to do the right and the sensible thing: stop spending on weapons and warfare and start investing in the American people.


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