Actions Across the Country to Rein in Wasteful Pentagon Spending

Ross Wallen December 10, 2012 1

USAction affiliates are rallying across the country to call on Congress to rein in wasteful Pentagon spending. Check out some highlights from events in Maine, Ohio, Washington state, New Hampshire and West Virginia below and a Facebook photo album here.

In Bangor, Maine People’s Alliance, working with CREDO Action, held a rally with 25 people to demand “Real Security” from Senators Collins and Snowe – an end to tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% and a permanent cut in defense spending.

Activists spoke out about the need for Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to stand up for the needs of middle-class Mainers and invest resources in education and health care, not in military spending or in tax breaks for the rich. The event concluded with the group singing “This Land is Your Land” and inviting those gathered to participate in a delivery event to the Senators’ offices next week.

In Cincinnati, ProgressOhio asked Speaker John Boehner if he values strong Social Security and Medicare programs over an open checkbook for Pentagon contractors and rock bottom tax rates for millionaires. Just under 20 activists participated, including the sisters who participated in the Nuns on the Bus tour!

Press coverage at Citybeat.com and the Springfield News Sun. Check out the great article in Citybeat.com:

The group of nearly two dozen — which included nuns, a veteran, a retiree advocate, a small businessman and progressive activists — held signs reading, “It is time for Nation Building in the United States. Cut Massive Pentagon Budget Now!” and “End Tax Breaks for Richest 2%.”

“We’re here today in front of Speaker of the House John Boehner’s West Chester office to drive home the fact that we believe that over 50 percent of the budget magically, this elephant in the House, has failed to be discussed as we discuss taking away services that provide human needs,” said David Little of Progress Ohio.

“Any discussion that fails to address excesses in that budget is failing the American people.”

Little added that it was possible to support the troops and veterans without spending billions on pointless wars.

Butler County attorney and Navy veteran Bruce Carter said the military can be more efficient in what he called the changing mission.

“When you refuse to have a discussion on over half of the budget, that’s like trying to tell the Bengals to win a game without going over the 50 yard line,” he said.

The group had a letter to deliver to Boehner, which contained what they called a statement of principles.

“We believe in a holistic approach to the budget crisis, and in order to protect the middle-class, cuts to the Pentagon need to be at the forefront,” the letter states.

“We understand that Pentagon cuts are a controversial issue, however, Pentagon cuts in the sequester do not threaten our national security.”

The letter suggests that some of the money currently being spent on the Defense Department goes to providing services for veterans.

The military accounted for about 52 percent — or $600 billion — of discretionary spending in fiscal year 2011.

In contrast, education, training and social services collectively made up 9 percent of the budget.

The group of four activists weren’t allowed into Boehner’s office, but a young staffer met them outside. He said that the speaker thought everything should be on the table when it came to budget cuts.

In Spokane, Washington Community Action Network and allies (right) held a rally to call for Pentagon cuts instead of cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Their coalition delivered letters with 1,122 community members and 18 organizations signed on today to Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. WACAN received press in the KYRS Local News,  The Inlander, Liberals Plan Spokane March Over Fiscal Cliff and  Spokane Faith and Value BRIEF: Advocates call on Sen. Murray to create jobs, fund social programs, cut spending on Afghanistan War, pentagon.

And in New Hampshire, New Hampshire Citizens Alliance held a forum featuring an Iraq Vet to discuss the Pentagon budget, titled “Is Pentagon Spending Pushing Us Over the Fiscal Cliff?”

This all comes in the same week that West Virginia Citizen Action Group got Sen. Joe Manchin on the record supporting cuts to wasteful Pentagon spending! If you’d like to take action, please write your Members of Congress here.