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Most Democrats, including Michigan Senator’s Peters and Stabenow, voted against a reduction in US military spending

July 24, 2020

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Earlier this week, 139 Democrats in the House voted against an amendment to the US Military Budget, which would have reduced military spending by 10%.  Then on Wednesday, the majority of Senate Democrats also voted against the amendment that was introduced by Bernie Sanders.

The amendment would have reduced the US military budget by a mere 10% and redirect that money into jobs, education, health care, and housing in communities in the United States in which the poverty rate is not less than 25 percent. 

The Senate vote was 77 against the amendment and 23 in favor. Both Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters voted against the amendment, which would have redirected $74 Billion to meet critical needs of the most impoverished communities across the US.

In a recent report by the National Priorities Project, which examines the 2020 US Military Budget, shows a continued increase in US military spending, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and widening wealth gap in the US. The study also shows that the US military budget is so large that it is more than the next 10 largest military budgets combined, as can be seen in this graphic.

Therefore, the question should be asked, why are the Democrats voting for an increase in US military spending and against an amendment that would reduced military spending and direct that money to support the poorest communities? Despite public perceptions, the Democratic Party has been equally committed to US imperialism abroad and to the Military Industrial Complex. The Center for Responsive Politics provides data that shows that the US Defense Industry contributes a substantial amount of money to the Democratic Party, only slightly less than to their Republican counterparts. 

Then there is the issue of how military weaponry is manufactured, with private weapons companies in virtually every Congressional District across the country, thus making it difficult for most candidates to go against reduced military spending, so as not to alienate the private defense sector.

As for Senators Stabenow and Peters, we have reported (in 2018 and 2019) on their motivations for ongoing support for US military spending. 

Voting for increased US military spending and against proposals to reduce such spending signifies that the Democratic Party is not progressive on one of the most important issues of our time, even if the majority of those who identify as Democrats would support a reduction in US military spending.

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