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Rep. Cynthia McKinney Opposes Department of Defense Authorization

May 21, 1998

" We are shortchanging our national security if we continue to shortchange our investment in domestic programs that make for real national security."

(Washington) - Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, (D-Ga.), boldly cast the single opposing vote against the Department of Defense Authorization bill out of Committee this month and opposed the passage of the bill when it came up for final passage on the House floor today. "Unfortunately the Committee’s recommendations still reflect a Cold War era mentality. While both defense and domestic spending are on the decline, the U.S. could greatly benefit from a reallocation within the defense budget and a reinvestment in domestic programs," said McKinney.

McKinney’s opposition to funding the bill is threefold. She believes that the national security of the United States rests on three pillars: defense, diplomacy, and domestic security. McKinney supports a fairer distribution of money between the domestic, defense, and diplomacy accounts. This balanced approach will produce a healthy, well educated, properly housed American citizenry; a forward thinking diplomacy that prevents warfare before it erupts; and a defense that secures our national interests around the globe.

Concerned that dipping into the domestic budget to fund small-scale, post-Cold War engagements will become the practice for supporting U.S. military activities, McKinney warned, "The Congress just passed the Supplemental Emergency Appropriation which provided for additional spending for our forces in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf. This additional military spending was the Christmas Tree upon which disaster relief was hung. $2.9 billion of this additional spending not only falls out of the budget agreement, but important domestic programs were cut to pay for it. It is time to leave the Cold War behind."

Chosen by Rep. Ron Dellums before retiring in February, McKinney represents the embodiment of Dellums, former Committee Chairman and Rep. Patricia Schroeder, the first woman ever to serve on the National Security Committee. "I respect the legacy of struggle left behind by Dellums and Schroeder. Obviously, their causes still need a voice on the National Security Committee and in the Congress," McKinney continued. "The fact that we’re still debating Star Wars and the place of women in the Armed Services indicates that the work begun by Congressman Dellums and Congresswoman Schroeder is yet to be done," said McKinney.

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