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McKinney Raps Big Spender Republicans

March 17, 2000

Washington, D.C.--Last Friday the GOP reached agreement on their budget proposal for 2001. We know what their priorities are. Once again, they are calling for huge increases in military spending and tax cuts that will primarily benefit the wealthy and special interest groups.

But the blame for our bloated military budget and the disastrous impact it has on other spending priorities does not lie with the Republicans alone.

Last year, in a 55 to 1 vote of the Armed Services Committee, I was the only member, Republican or Democrat to oppose the Defense Authorization bill that was reported out of that committee.

Although I supported some of the provisions of that bill, including the 4.8% pay raise for our soldiers, I voted against it because: We do not need a military force big enough to fight two major wars at the same time without any allied support; We do not need to continue to station 100,000 troops in Europe, a decade after the end of the cold war; We do not need to spend $35 billion a year on maintaining a cold war nuclear arsenal; We do not need to waste another $11 billion on Star Wars on top of the $60 billion already wasted on that program; We can no longer continue to spend nearly half of all federal discretionary dollars on military programs.

This misplaced priority compromises our national security by shortchanging our investments in programs that make for real security in a healthy, well-educated, properly housed citizenry.

This is not merely a matter of political philosophy. Our bloated military budget deprives the people of my district the services from the federal government that they deserve.

"I believe investing in democracy building and protection of human rights. By investing more in economic development, conflict prevention and peacekeeping operations we would build a far more secure world, and minimize the need for us to deploy our men and women in uniform to foreign shores," concluded McKinney.

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