February 22, 2023

Reps. Lee, Pocan Reintroduce People Over Pentagon Act to Cut Bloated Defense Budget by $100 Billion

Washington, D.C. –  Today, Reps. Barbara Lee (CA-12) and Mark Pocan (WI-2), Co-Chairs of the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus, reintroduced the People Over Pentagon Act to cut $100 billion from the Defense budget and reallocate the funds to the American people's most urgent needs. This Congress, the bill has the highest number of cosponsors in its history.

“Year after year, this country pours billions into our already-astronomical defense budget without stopping to question whether the additional funding is actually making us safer. We know that a large portion of these taxpayer dollars are used to pad the pockets of the military industrial complex, fund outdated technology, or are simply mismanaged,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Our national priorities are reflected in our spending. Cutting just $100 billion could do so much good: it could power every household in the US with solar energy; hire one million elementary school teachers amid a worsening teacher shortage; provide free tuition for 2 out of 3 public college students; or cover medical care for 7 million veterans. As Rep. Pocan and I reintroduce the People Over Pentagon Act to make this cut a reality, I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ask themselves what would truly provide more benefit to the people of this country: another outdated weapons system, or greater access to basic needs in our communities.”  

“By cutting $100 billion from the defense budget, this bill prioritizes urgent needs like healthcare, education, and infrastructure over padding the pockets of defense contractors,” Congressman Pocan said. “More defense spending does not guarantee safety, but it does guarantee that the military-industrial complex will continue to get richer. We can no longer afford to put these corporate interests over the needs of the American people. It's time to invest in our communities and make meaningful change that reflects our nation’s priorities."

"The United States is rushing toward a trillion-dollar Pentagon budget that enriches military contractors but entrenches massive fraud and waste, leaves the nation less secure and pulls money away from priority human needs,” said Robert WeissmanPresident of Public Citizen. “For a just and secure society, it’s time to reverse course, cut Pentagon spending and reallocate the savings to expanding health care, taking care of kids, addressing the climate crisis and more. Thank you, peace and justice champions Reps. Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan, for introducing The People Over Pentagon Act to curb wasteful and dangerous Pentagon spending so that we can meet the genuine needs of the nation." 

The bill text can be found here.


Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, she is the highest-ranking Black woman appointed to House Leadership.