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“So I strongly support the spirit of Senator Sanders’ legislation that would take a significant first step toward reimagining our national security spending priorities, and will vote in favor of his amendment…to help advance this important conversation”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement in support of Amendment 1788 to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, which the Senate is expected to vote on this week.  

“As the daughter of a World War II veteran and a voice in the Senate for our servicemembers, military families, and veterans in Washington state and nationwide, I have long championed federal spending to help keep our nation safe and ensure our men and women in uniform, our most important national security assets, are taken care of and have the resources and support they need to defend our freedoms.

“I also believe firmly that an essential part of protecting our national security is working toward greater justice, equality and opportunity at home. The grief and anger on display in our streets is a testament to the deep and urgent need to refocus on that work as a country, which requires reassessing our federal spending priorities to ensure every community, particularly those that have long been disadvantaged by our nation’s laws and policies, has the federal support they need to thrive.

“No part of the federal government should be exempt from scrutiny in this process, so I strongly support the spirit of Senator Sanders’ legislation that would take a significant first step toward reimagining our national security spending priorities, and will vote in favor of his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to help advance this important conversation.

“As this discussion continues, I also want to be clear that when it comes to our exorbitant defense spending there are obvious areas of excess—like our ballooning nuclear weapon modernization program, or administrative waste, abuse and fraud that’s long gone unaddressed—that help make a strong case for cutting our military budget and reprioritizing those federal dollars toward other pressing needs in our communities, from health care to housing and so much more. These areas of obvious excess should be looked to for reductions—not investments in short or long- term strategic national security interests, or long-underfunded priorities like military child care that support military readiness and retention.

“These consequential decisions need careful study and evaluation to help ensure they do not compromise our national security or the welfare of our servicemembers and military families. To that end, if this amendment is successfully included in the final legislation, I will be watching closely to make sure Congress continues to invest in vital federal support and services for our courageous troops.”

Background:

Senator Murray is a former chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and a longtime advocate in the Senate for the United States military, including efforts to bolster federal support for military child care center construction and other critical services for servicemembers and military families. Regarding potential cuts to the military budget, Senator Murray supports efforts to reexamine federal spending on the Department of Defense’s (DoD) nuclear arsenal modernization program, which increased by 19 percent in FY21; DoD anticipates nearly $1.2 trillion on the program in the next 25 years, in spite of an analysis conducted by the Obama Administration that found the United States’ nuclear arsenal could be cut by a third without any damage to national security. Senator Murray also supports efforts to cut persistent waste, fraud, and abuse identified within DoD’s budget: the Department completed its first-ever audit in 2018, which revealed thousands of deficiencies the Department has thus far failed to address. 

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