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Monday, August 3, 2020

Chuck Schumer backs effort to slash Pentagon spending

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Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, threw his support Friday behind a proposal to cut $74 billion from the Pentagon’s budget, embracing a key priority of the left wing.

The 10% cut to the Defense Department was authored by Sen. Bernard Sanders, and it is due for a vote later this month, when the Senate returns.

The proposal would redirect the money to communities with heavy poverty levels, paying for additional health care and housing.

“I proudly support the amendment,” Mr. Schumer said on Twitter.

The amendment will be debated as part of the annual defense policy bill.

The proposal is not likely to clear the GOP-controlled Senate, but it will become a major marker for the two parties heading into November’s election, with President Trump having made funding the Pentagon a major push of his tenure.

Right now, the bill envisions $740 billion for Pentagon spending next year. The $74 billion cut would reduce that to $666 billion.

Just four years ago the military budget was about $600 billion a year. The defense policy bill envisions that reaching $740 billion next year.

Even with a $74 billion trim, the Pentagon would still be well ahead of where it was at the end of the Obama years.

Mr. Sanders called the 10% cut a first step to “change our national priorities.”

But it’s not clear it could even pass the Democrat-led House, which is also working on a defense bill with a $740 billion budget.

Mr. Sanders‘ amendment comes as Democrats across the country are pushing to cut security funding — usually in the form of police departments. In Congress, Democrats are not eyeing cuts to police funding, but have proposed slashing Homeland Security’s deportation force by 25%.


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