Military spending
Our military wants to retire ships, airplanes and other equipment that are outdated or too expensive to maintain or upgrade. However, Congress refuses to comply with our Army, Navy and Air Force’s requests to decommission these vessels, vehicles and aircraft. Critics say politics are to blame for the resistance to cut military programs that may financially affect a legislator’s district. It is estimated this resistance will cost taxpayers at least $5 billion over the next 2 years. Frustrated military leaders complain that the 2013 sequester cuts are forcing them to furlough contractors, ground Air Force training flights and delay or cancel ship deployments while Congress refuses to accept savings that could prevent these cuts. Our Navy has seven cruisers, two amphibious warships and two combat support ships they want to retire and save taxpayers about $5 billion over two years. Our Air Force wants to save us more than $600 million by retiring thirty-four C-130 and C-5A cargo aircraft, three B-1 bombers and eighteen high-altitude Global Hawk surveillance drones. Lawmakers from both parties have spent nearly half a billion dollars over the past two years building improved versions of the Abrams tank that our Army doesn’t need or want.

On a much larger scale, it is often noted that we spend between 4% and 5% of our GDP on defense each year. These annual defense expenditures total about $580 billion, or about equal to the budgets of the next 9 largest countries combined. This spending level also translates to about 18 times the combined military budgets of the "rogue" nations and twice as much as the rogue nations plus Russia and China. In addition, this amount does not include the budgets of the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, our nuclear weapons program, the debt payments from past wars, or intelligence operations conducted by the FBI and NASA. Historically, it is rare for us to decrease our defense budget – the end of the Cold War and the Sequester budget cuts are such examples. Supporters of our military budget claim these expenditures help drive our economy and are needed to protect our interests and maintain peace abroad. Many of these proponents say we need an even larger military presence than the one we have. Opponents say our present level of defense spending is the biggest driver of our nation’s debt and is consuming the funds needed for domestic programs such as rebuilding infrastructure, investing in education and fighting climate change. They claim we do not need a military large enough to fulfill the role of the world’s policeman, and that we should insist on other nations equitably contributing to maintaining world peace.

Pending Legislation: None

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Poll Opening Date
March 26, 2020
Poll Closing Date
April 1, 2020

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