from the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
President Biden’s proposal to increase the military budget comes at a cost for other integral human security needs. This article was published in the May-June 2021 issue of NewsNotes.
President Biden’s budget proposal for 2022 includes a $13 billion increase in defense spending. In a year when the White House has already introduced nearly $4 trillion in spending packages for urgent needs, such as addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and responding to natural disasters, climate change, and crumbling infrastructure, cutting military spending offers a clear opportunity for massive, badly needed savings. Instead, the president’s budget further increases debt while funding nuclear and other weapons programs that make people and the planet less secure.
Biden’s proposal includes raising total defense spending from $740 billion in 2021 to a proposed $753 billion next year. The figure includes $715 billion for the Pentagon, plus $38 billion for Department of Energy-managed nuclear weapons and other armed defense spending. The initial “skinny budget” proposal offers only topline amounts for discretionary spending. A more detailed budget, including mandatory spending, expected in June, is expected to bring the total for armed defense spending even higher.
On a positive note, Pres. Biden’s budget eliminates the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund – a kind of slush fund for war spending that faith groups had long lobbied to get rid of. However, the funds previously included in the OCO have simply been folded into the president’s baseline budget.
On April 26, MOGC joined with 37 U.S. advocacy organizations (including Pax Christi USA) in a statement calling on Congress to “significantly decrease spending on the military and nuclear weapons for FY2022 and to reallocate that money into true national priorities like public health, diplomacy, infrastructure, and addressing climate change.”…