Pentagon spending

Pete Stark tells deficit hawks to walk the walk

This week, Republicans put forward a resolution to reduce all nonmilitary spending to fiscal year 2008 levels as part of their crusade against the deficit. They have been all too happy to ignore the fact that any serious attempt at slashing spending must dig into the Pentagon’s bloated budget, and polling shows that Americans support such cuts.

Representative Pete Stark (D-CA-13)  just dropped a new bill that calls Republicans on this deliberate blind spot. H.R. 413 would mirror the resolution proposed by Republicans by reducing the Department of Defense budget (both baseline spending and war spending) to Fiscal Year 2008 levels. Stark’s bill would also exempt military pay and benefits from cuts, a place where both the deficit commission co-chairs and Secretary Gates have looked for savings rather than tackling mroe outmoded weapons systems or unnecessary wars.

Rep. Stark noted the need to rein in out of control Pentagon spending in a press release:

“We can’t be serious about reducing the deficit if we’re going to wall off 60 percent of our discretionary spending from cuts,” said Rep. Stark. “This legislation would save $182 billion, from a sector riddled with extra planes and engines that the Pentagon doesn’t want. At a time when we are spending seven times the next closest nation on our military, we must look toward defense for waste and potential savings.”

In the floor debate around the Republicans’ resolution, Stark challenged Republicans to “put their money where their mouths are” by cosponsoring his bill.  You can help by urging your representative to cosponsor H.R. 413.

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