Aletho News


US Democrats fundraise from arms dealers amid Pentagon budget fight

Press TV – April 29, 2023

Top Democratic lawmakers in the US are holding a fundraising meeting with major arms companies on Thursday as Washington plunges into a budget battle in which concessions to the Pentagon and the defense industry could mean cuts to welfare programs such as food stamps.

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, his deputy Pete Aguilar, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chair Rep. Suzan Delbene have been selected as the honorees to be invited to the event. The downtown D.C. function ― dubbed a “defense and national security dinner” ― is set to raise funds for the committee, which is the campaign arm for House Democrats and is central to their hopes of regaining the lower chamber of Congress.

Dozens of representatives of Pentagon contractors, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, SpaceX, Palantir, and General Dynamics will attend the event.

The group includes figures who previously worked for congressional Democrats, such as Shana Chandler, director of government relations at General Dynamics. Chandler spent 15 years as chief of staff for Rep. Adam Smith, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and another co-host of Thursday’s event.

The event could provide a significant signal about the priorities of the House Democrats as they prepare for the 2024 elections and battle Republicans who are demanding spending cuts in exchange for passing critical legislation. It could be a disappointing message to those who want the party to support social justice and progressive reform.

A senior congressional aide said news of the fundraiser set off alarm bells among staffers, and the event could be a stark example of senior Democratic leaders saying one thing but doing another. Democrats claim to support reining in out-of-control defense spending and criticize Republicans for serving America’s most powerful corporate interests while doing exactly that themselves.

In the coming months, Democratic lawmakers are expected to make key decisions that will affect the US defense industry as they fight Republican efforts to cut government spending.

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he wants comprehensive cuts. But signals from influential Republicans and analysis by budget experts suggest that McCarthy will protect the Pentagon budget.

Democrats can also demand limits on Pentagon spending to protect other government agencies. However, the defense industry will lobby hard to prevent such a development.

The United States remains by far the world’s biggest military spender, according to new data on global military spending published today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

US military spending reached $877 billion in 2022, which was 39 percent of total global military spending and three times more than the amount spent by China, the world’s second largest spender.

The 0.7 percent real-terms increase in US spending in 2022 would have been even greater had it not been for the highest levels of inflation since 1981.

“The increase in the USA’s military spending in 2022 was largely accounted for by the unprecedented level of financial military aid it provided to Ukraine,” said Dr Nan Tian, SIPRI Senior Researcher. “Given the scale of US spending, even a minor increase in percentage terms has a significant impact on the level of global military expenditure.”

US financial military aid to Ukraine totaled $19.9 billion in 2022. Although this was the largest amount of military aid given by any country to a single beneficiary in any year since the cold war, it represented only 2.3 percent of total US military spending.

In 2022 the USA allocated $295 billion to military operations and maintenance, $264 billion to procurement and research and development, and $167 billion to military personnel.

April 29, 2023 - Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Noted. We/the US is bleeding money, morality, credibility…the duopoly reigns: a danse macabre, for sure. Revolution, in whatever manner, shape or form, needed. Make the America That Might Have Been Great *Great*, a true light in a sea of multipolarity — for the sake of future generations of humankind and the planet — animalkind, biodiversity and sustainability….


    Comment by roberthstiver | April 29, 2023 | Reply

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