Common Sense Budget Act introduced

WASHINGTON, DC - As Congress debates the federal 2008 budget,Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey this week introduced the Common Sense Budget Act (HR 1702) , a measure that cuts $60 billion in Pentagon waste and reallocates the savings to health care for returning veterans, public schools, health insurance for children, job training, energy independence, deficit reduction and humanitarian aid.

The $60 billion shift is the centerpiece of the Priorities NHcampaign of Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities.

The legislation cancels weapons programs developed for Cold War-era conflicts, such as excessive nuclear weapons, the unproven ballistic missile defense system, and the controversial F/A-22 fighter jet, and redirects the savings to human needs in America and internationally.

“By maintaining Cold War-level Pentagon budgets, even as America is the unrivaled remaining superpower, our nation undermines its long-term growth. We’ve neglected social and economic infrastructure, reduced investment in human capital, and weakened the health and productivity of our labor force. Meanwhile, the excessive Pentagon budget has contributed to our ballooning debt and deficit. We need to stop the deficit financing of our military-industrial complex and formulate a better business plan for America, one that’s based on sensible budget priorities,” said Business Leaders’ President Ben Cohen.

“American businesses are committed to supporting the critical programs that fund America’s readiness and strengthen our domestic and global stability and competitiveness. Our federal tax dollars must be committed based on cost effectiveness and value-added -- not political payoffs,” said Business Leaders Board Chairman Warren Langley, former president of the Pacific Stock Exchange.

“We need to overturn the notion that pouring money into weapons systems that were designed to fight the Soviet Union makes our nation safer, especially when it means shortchanging the kind of preventive security solutions that are critical to combating global terrorism,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

The Pentagon budget cuts contained in the new bill were identified by Dr. Lawrence J. Korb, assistant defense secretary under Ronald Reagan, with a panel of distinguished military experts. Korb’s detailed report identifies $60 billion that could be trimmed from the defense budget without hurting America’s ability to fight the Iraq War or defend against extremists. It is available on the PrioritiesNH Web site at http://www.prioritiesnh.org/documents/Korb_revised_06.pdf.

A similar bill that has been introduced in the Senate , The National Priorities Act of 2007 (S 818) ,also shifts the $60 billion and prohibits the Pentagon achieving any of the savings by skimping on the basic needs of military personnel, including pay raises and health care. It also would repeal the Bush Administration’s tax breaks beginning in 2008 for individuals who earn more than $400,000, and expands the Earned Income Tax Credit, which would reduce taxes for 10 million workers and families with children.

“Pentagon waste has been Congress’s Berlin Wall, the barrier so imposing it could never be crossed,” said PrioritiesNH director Steve Varnum. “We’re seeing cracks in the wall as citizens contrast 9 million kids without health care with the Pentagon’s obscenely expensive weapons systems and nuclear stockpiles.

“It’s time for that wall to come down,” Varnum said.

  • Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey – Rep. Woolsey is in her eight term as the representative from California’s 6th District.
  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee – Rep. Lee represents California’s ninth Congressional District and serves on the House Appropriations Committee.
  • Ben Cohen - President, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities.
  • Lawrence Korb - Senior Advisor to Priorities Campaign; former asst. defense secretary under President Reagan.
  • Vice Admiral John J. Shanahan , U.S. Navy (ret.) - Director of Military Advisory Committee, Priorities Campaign.
  • Warren Langley - Board Chairman, Priorities Campaign; former president of Pacific Stock Exchange.

BusinessLeaders for Sensible Priorities comprises  700 business executives and distinguished military authorities who want to shift America's budget priorities to increase federal investment in education, healthcare, energy independence, job training and deficit reduction -- at no additional taxpayer expense -- by reducing funding for outdated Cold War weapons. For more information on Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, please visit