(RNS) — With simply days to go earlier than probably defaulting on our payments, the president and Congress are grappling for a debt restrict deal that may beat back an financial disaster.
Congress has the ability to lift the debt ceiling with out endangering the economic system. It has accomplished so earlier than. Nonetheless, Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy is refusing to take action with out drastic cuts to social and environmental packages.
The Home not too long ago handed a debt ceiling improve invoice — the Restrict, Save, Develop Act of 2023 — that might lower funding for diet help, training, housing — practically all federal packages, besides the Pentagon. It will additionally impose harsh new restrictions on elementary help packages, taking away meals assist, well being care and earnings help from folks struggling to seek out work.
People who find themselves hungry and weak shouldn’t be made scapegoats. If our nationwide leaders are genuinely trying to scale back spending, lower waste and produce down the debt, they needn’t look additional than the Pentagon.
For too lengthy, the Pentagon has been handled as a sacred cow in price range negotiations, leaving our well being care, training, surroundings and different packages absorbing all of the cuts. In actual fact, yearly Congress provides much more cash than requested by the White Home to the Pentagon’s price range. Lawmakers fund weapons and packages that even navy leaders don’t want and that don’t look like making our nation or world safer.
But each Democratic and Republican leaders have promised to not lower the Pentagon’s price range in any debt ceiling deal.
The White Home has referred to as for together with navy spending alongside different packages in any spending caps that could be a part of a deal. It is a welcome step to make sure human wants packages don’t bear all of the brunt of cuts. Sadly, Home leaders have rejected that possibility.
The Pentagon has already spent some $8.1 trillion for battle since 9/11, roughly equal to 25% of our present nationwide debt. As households battle to satisfy fundamental wants, the navy price range has grown quickly lately, reaching an astounding $858 billion in FY 2023. If this sample continues, annual navy spending is predicted to hit $1 trillion yearly in a brief period of time.
With numbers like these, we actually can not afford to disregard the Pentagon. And it will welcome some cuts, particularly for packages it has not even requested.
The Navy, for instance, has two packages primed to be eradicated: the nuclear sea-launched cruise missile and the Freedom-class littoral fight ships. If ended, they’d save greater than $4.3 billion over the following 5 years. The navy not wants or needs them, however Congress retains them funded.
Slightly than imposing harsher work necessities on the poor, Congress ought to be trying to lower wasteful navy spending and improve income by, for instance, closing company tax loopholes. Tax cuts handed post-9/11 have slashed taxes in favor of the rich and enormous firms. This has pushed down federal revenues, including an estimated $10 trillion to the debt since their enactment.
Our nation won’t be made higher — fiscally or in any other case — by slashing our simplest poverty-fighting packages and growing hardship for probably the most weak folks. The precise technique to cope with our debt now and for the long run is to get severe about reducing wasteful navy spending.
The measure of America shouldn’t be what number of weapons we now have, however how we help these most in want, assist communities thrive and defend the planet on which all of us dwell.
(Bridget Moix is the final secretary of the Mates Committee on Nationwide Laws and leads Mates Place on Capitol Hill and the FCNL Training Fund. The views expressed on this commentary don’t essentially mirror these of Faith Information Service.)
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