05.21.21

Lee, Pocan Urge President Biden to Reduce Defense Spending Following Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Washington, D.C. – Representatives Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Mark Pocan (WI-02), Co-Chairs of the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus, sent a letter calling on President Biden to reallocate the $50 billion saved by withdrawing troops from Afghanistan to address domestic priorities and human needs:

“While your commitment to withdrawing U.S. troops is commendable and long-overdue, it should be accompanied by a corresponding commitment to reducing military spending,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “We urge you to reconfigure your Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget request to, at minimum, reflect the ‘peace dividend’ gained by exiting the war in Afghanistan.” 

“Your Administration has a historic opportunity to reduce our overreliance on militarized approaches to global challenges and reallocate resources accordingly,” the lawmakers continued. “We therefore urge you to not only follow through on your pledge to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but also to propose a corresponding lower Pentagon topline in your forthcoming full budget request.” 

The 20-year war in Afghanistan – the longest war in American history – has wasted more than $2.6 trillion in taxpayer dollars and killed more than 238,000 individuals since 2001. President Biden plans to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by September 2021.

For the full text of the letter, click here.  

 

President Joseph R. Biden 

The White House 

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 

Washington, DC 20500 

 

Dear President Biden: 

 

We enthusiastically welcome your recently-announced plans to withdraw American troops from the 20-year war in Afghanistan by September 2021, an important step in stopping endless warfighting that has wasted more than $2.6 trillion taxpayer dollars and killed more than 238,000 individuals since 2001.

While your commitment to withdrawing U.S. troops is commendable and long-overdue, it should be accompanied by a corresponding commitment to reducing military spending. We urge you to reconfigure your Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget request to, at minimum, reflect the “peace dividend” gained by exiting the war in Afghanistan.

Estimates indicate that as much as $50 billion will be freed up by withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Reallocating that funding to domestic priorities and human needs would expand your Build Back Better agenda. It could end homelessness in the United States, provide increased health coverage to Americans in need, or contribute to the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your Administration has a historic opportunity to reduce our overreliance on militarized approaches to global challenges and reallocate resources accordingly. We therefore urge you to not only follow through on your pledge to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but also to propose a corresponding lower Pentagon topline in your forthcoming full budget request. We also request a detailed description of the savings generated by the forthcoming troop withdrawal, and an explanation of where those cost-savings will be reallocated. The people of the United States deserve nothing less.

Sincerely, 

 

Mark Pocan 

Member of Congress 

 

Barbara Lee 

Member of Congress 

 

Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. 

Member of Congress 

 

Jake Auchincloss 

Member of Congress 

 

Peter A. DeFazio 

Member of Congress 

 

Dwight Evans 

Member of Congress 

 

Jesús G. "Chuy" García 

Member of Congress 

 

Raúl Grijalva 

Member of Congress 

 

Jared Huffman 

Member of Congress 

 

Eleanor Holmes Norton 

Member of Congress 

 

Ilhan Omar 

Member of Congress 

 

Jan Schakowsky 

Member of Congress 

 

Rashida Tlaib 

Member of Congress 

 

Bonnie Watson Coleman 

Member of Congress 

 

Peter Welch 

Member of Congress 

 

Adriano Espaillat 

Member of Congress 

 

Ro Khanna 

Member of Congress 

 

Earl Blumenauer 

Member of Congress 

 

Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. 

Member of Congress 

 

Jimmy Gomez 

Member of Congress 

 

Nydia M. Velázquez 

Member of Congress 

 

Brian Higgins 

Member of Congress 

 

Mondaire Jones 

Member of Congress