Few in Congress Questioning How the U.S. Can Afford $7.5 trillion for the Military

The Pentagon

Pentagon spending is on track to grow significantly for the fifth consecutive year, but "very few in Congress are questioning" how the U.S. can afford it.

That's according to the Washington Post's Jeff Stein and Aaron Gregg, who reported Thursday that "the United States is expected to spend more on its military in 2020 than at any point since World War II, except for a handful of years at the height of the Iraq War."

In his 2020 budget request, Trump called for $750 billion in Pentagon spending. Democrats countered with a $733 billion offer, which would still represent a substantial increase over the Pentagon's 2019 budget.

Either number would bring U.S. military spending to "near-historic highs," according to the Post.

"Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office projected the United States would spend more than $7 trillion on defense over the next decade," the Post reported, "which is in line with both the White House's and House Democrats' budget plans."

As Stein noted on Twitter, only a few progressive lawmakers are asking how the United States can afford such spending—a question frequently raised about bold progressive policies.

Consumer advocacy group Public Citizen tweeted that the "establishment says we can't afford" Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, but apparently has "unlimited" funds for the military.

As Common Dreams reported, Democratic leaders such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and DCCC chair Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) have both raised alarm about Medicare for All's supposedly high "price tag"—but neither have raised similar alarm about soaring military spending.

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) are among the few speaking out against bipartisan efforts to raise military spending.

In response to the Post's reporting, the CPC tweeted, "We are spending way, way, way, way too much money on the Pentagon."

As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the CPC revolted against House Democratic leaders' Pentagon spending request and forced the party to cancel a vote on their sweeping 2020 budget measure.

Progressives demanded an increase in domestic social spending in line with the Pentagon's budget.

"We need to prioritize our communities, not our military spending," tweeted Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the CPC. "Progressives aren't backing down from this fight."

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