By Rachelle Lyndaker-Schlabach
After years of rapid growth, military spending has begun to slow down. This year’s base budget will be slightly smaller than last year’s, though still above the spending caps set in the August 2011 debt agreement. Funding for war efforts has dropped due to the withdrawal of troops from Iraq but is still a steep $88 billion.
Congressional offices are increasingly open to cutting the Pentagon budget, but the last-minute “fiscal cliff” agreement approved by Congress cuts just $2 billion from the Pentagon in this fiscal year and $4 billion in Fiscal Year 2014, less than one percent of the Pentagon budget. Studies from a range of groups say the Pentagon could easily absorb cuts of $1 trillion over the next decade.
Lawmakers have until March to determine whether they will cut more from the Pentagon as part of a deficit agreement. They need to hear from you! Over the past year and a half, more than 2,000 “Invest in the Future” postcards have been signed by Mennonites. More information on how to get involved is available at washington.mcc.org.
MCC Washington staff also provided leadership for a regional peace forum sponsored by the Mennonite Church of Normal in Illinois. Some of the participants in the weekend forum then visited the Springfield, Illinois office of Senator Durbin to convey their desire for further cuts to the Pentagon. We encourage other Memo readers to organize a similar event in their home communities. If you are interested, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 544-6564.