The Congressional Progressive Caucus
Fiscal Year 2008-17 “Peace & Security” Budget Alternative
The federal budget goes far
beyond numbers. The way a nation chooses
to collect and distribute its resources defines that nation in the eyes of its
citizens and the rest of the world. For
too long, the
The Peace and Security
Budget has a non-defense, domestic discretionary spending number of just over $483
billion. This is roughly $68 billion
over the FY08 Resolution approved by the House Budget Committee and $88 billion
over President Bush’s FY08 Budget submitted to Congress last month. Leading social
justice and economic fairness groups like the Coalition on Human Needs and the Emergency
Ø The Peace and Security Budget balances by FY 2010, two years ahead of the budget approved by the House Budget Committee and the Republican Substitute. The President’s Budget comes close in FY 2012, but doesn’t reach surplus in the next ten years.
Ø The Peace and Security Budget spends $395 billion on defense, which is $86 billion under both the President and the FY08 Budget Resolution as reported from the House Budget Committee, while not compromising our national security.
(Detailed EXCEL Spreadsheet is attached.)
National defense (050)
The Progressive Caucus Budget will be the only budget alternative offered in this debate that will actually cut even one penny from the Pentagon budget below the full amount that President Bush requested for Fiscal Year 2008 -- an 11% boost over last year.
Unified Security Budget
If Congress fully funds President Bush’s military budget
request of $623 billion (including
This (arguable) idea that we can begs the question of
whether we should. As our country
seeks to extricate itself from a disastrous attempt to remake the
According to current polling, majorities of Americans beyond
pointed in this direction by recommending a path out of the current Iraqi quagmire that shifts the emphasis of our national security strategy from military forces to diplomacy.
Meanwhile, the armed service chiefs and civilian Pentagon leadership of the Bush Administration are laying the groundwork to fund the expansive, global military role with a permanently expanded Pentagon budget. This is an urgently-needed policy debate, to put it mildly, worth having. This is one of the principal reasons why we are offering this Progressive Caucus Budget Alternative. We are not serving the American people and American taxpayers well by glossing over this new 21st century budget challenge.
One useful, currently missing tool to ground and better
inform the federal budget debate, we argue, would be a Unified Security Budget
(USB). It would pull together in one
It would, for example, enable consideration of security trade-offs like the following: the F-22 fighter jet, one of the most troubled and strategically questionable programs in the arsenal, is set to receive an increase in FY 2008 of $600 million.
Since 2004, a Unified Security Budget Task Force made up of some of our nation’s leading national security and military strategists has produced an annual report sketching the outlines of a Unified Security Budget. Their expertise spans all three security domains—offense, defense and prevention. We recommend reading their report to all of our colleagues. It lays out the spending levels and relative proportions allocated by President Bush’s FY 2008 budget request to each of them. Let me highlight a few key findings:
One of the drivers of this gaping Bush disparity between
military and non-military security spending is the federal commitment to a set
of dazzlingly complex weapons systems whose capabilities have more to do with
pork barrel inertia than strategic sense, and whose future costs are set to
grow even larger as many of them move from development to production
phases. In making its case for a
rebalanced security portfolio, our
Progressive Caucus budget identifies cuts in these programs and explains why
they can be made with no sacrifice to
world by non-military means—including diplomacy, non-proliferation, and economic development—and that strengthen our homeland defenses.
The hard part will be getting this done on Capitol Hill. A congressional budget process working through “stove piped” committees that rarely talk to each other makes this difficult.
But rebalancing security spending to reflect post 9/11
realities and needs is not a task that can wait. The latest BBC World Service poll shows that
As this Congress struggles to find a solution to the crisis
in Iraq, it must simultaneously work to strengthen a different kind of overall
US presence in the world—one that emphasizes working with international
partners to resolve conflicts and tackle looming human security problems like
climate change, one that prevents the spread of nuclear materials by means
other than regime change, and one that addresses the root causes of terrorism,
while protecting the homeland against it. And the rhetoric of these intentions
must be underwritten by the resources to make them real. The overall priorities set in a Unified Security
Budget must be symbol as well as substance of a new, better balanced
Fully-funded, safe, orderly
Let’s start with what is clearly
the single largest waste of
No Member of this Congress can
claim credibly to be fiscally responsible and not tackle head-on the soaring,
unsustainable financial costs of the
Cutting outdated and unneeded weapons systems ($60 billion/year).
The Defense Department is wrought with waste, fraud, and abuse as it continues to spend in excess of $60 billion a year on holdover Cold War era weapons systems. It’s time that we bring some common sense back to the budget process and see to it that the basic human needs of all Americans come before the needs of the military industrial complex. The Progressive Caucus budget targets weapons programs that are either outdated or poorly conceived from the very beginning for elimination. Despite what a handful of giant defense contractors would have us believe, this inexcusable waste actually makes us less safe. Below is a list of weapons systems that have been identified by military experts, including Dr. Lawrence Korb, former Deputy Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration; Admiral Stansfield Turner- Former CIA Director; Vice Admiral John. J. Shanahan; and Brigadier General Dallas Brown, Jr.
Ballistic Missile Defense:
· It has not been realistically tested.
· Moreover, to fulfill then candidate George W. Bush’s campaign promise, the Pentagon took a number of shortcuts that put schedule ahead of performance.
· The shortcuts included insufficient ground tests of key components, a lack of specifications and standards, and a tendency to postpone the resolution of difficult issues.
· Finally, there is increasing evidence that no matter how much money is spent and no matter how long we continue to test it, the system can never work effectively.
· Reduce the number of nuclear warheads that we stockpile from 10,000 to 1,000.
This would save us $13 billion a year and we would still allow the
· Few countries have the capability of air to air fighting, which this plane is designed for.
· Originally developed to outpace Soviet MIG technology by anticipating the next generation of MIG, which were never built.
· Canceling the program now would leave the Air Force with 100 of these planes, which is more than enough to combat the any future air-to-air threat that may emerge.
DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer:
SSN-774 Virginia Class Submarines:
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
Space-Based Offensive Weapons
Future Combat System (FCS)
Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (R,D,T&E)
Implement GAO Reduce Waste, Fraud, and Abuse at the DOD (at least $8.7 billion a year)
Between 2001 and 2006, GAO provided the Department of Defense with 2544 recommendations for improving waste fraud and abuse in their rank. Many of these recommendations are related to improving their business practices. The Department is required to respond to each recommendation and GAO follows up on each recommendation to determine whether the Department has instituted sufficient corrective actions. To date, the Department of Defense has implemented 1014 recommendations and closed 152 recommendations without implementation. The GAO estimates that the
1014 implemented recommendations have yielded the Department of Defense a savings of $52.7 billion between fiscal years 2001 and 2006. The savings realized from the
implementation of these recommendations has been extraordinary. With this in mind, the DOD should take immediate action to implement as soon as possible the remaining 1,378 recommendations to achieve further substantial savings.
International affairs (150)
Weapons of mass destruction, far-flung terrorism, grinding poverty, and corrupt, oppressive nationalistic governments represent urgent threats to peace and security in the 21st Century. It is more important now than ever to address the root causes of terrorism and violent conflict to prevent future acts of terrorism from occurring. The Progressive Caucus ‘Peace and Security’ budget would rely upon what we call a Sensible, Multilateral American Response to Terrorism (SMART) Security Platform for the 21st Century. It will operationalize a more effective national security strategy than the Bush doctrine of preemptive warfare and focus more of our limited resources upon nonproliferation, conflict prevention, international diplomacy, and multilateralism. SMART security in action means:
· Working with the UN, NATO and other multilateral organizations to root out terrorist networks and cut off their funding and bases of support;
· Strengthening intelligence and law enforcement, while respecting human rights and protecting civil liberties;
· Pursuing diplomacy, enhanced inspection regimes, and regional security arrangements to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons;
· Ceasing the sale and transfer of weapons to regimes involved in human rights abuses and to regions of conflict;
· Increasing development aid and debt relief for the world’s poorest countries;
· Reducing dependence on foreign oil by promoting long-term energy security through greater investment in sustainable and renewable alternatives; and
· Supporting civil society programs as a critical component in the prevention and resolution of violent conflict.
The terrorist attacks of September 11th understandably have left many Americans feeling less secure and more fearful of attack at home and abroad. We have no greater responsibility in Congress than to ensure the security of the American people, but we meet that solemn duty in a smarter, more cost-effective way. The Progressive Caucus budget will enable us to do just that. While it may often be frustrating and time-consuming to engage in hard-nosed negotiations with our potential adversaries, doing so will prove far less costly and will make the world more peaceful than aggressive unilateralism.
Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (+$1 billion):
It is also in our national security interests for
The Global Fund has achieved significant success in the last
five years since it became operational.
As of December 2006, 770,000 people are now on lifesaving AIDS
treatment, 2 million people have been treated for TB and 18 million bed nets
have been distributed to protect families against malaria. As a result, since its creation 1.5 million
lives have been saved worldwide.
Investing in clean, renewable energy sources
If we want a more peaceful, secure
It calls for spending $30
billion/year for the next decade to create 3 million new, clean energy jobs to
Community and regional development (450)
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
These grants are given to local governments to promote community and economic development. Community development block grants are also vital to helping our local communities (including those devastated by Hurricane Katrina) meet their needs for affordable housing including homeownership assistance, construction of housing, rehabilitation of existing housing, and energy efficiency improvements. While the President has repeated targeted this program for cuts, the Progressive Caucus Budget increases funding for this program to $4.1 billion in FY08.
Education, training, employment, and social services (500)
Fully Fund Title I of No Child Left Behind.
· No Child Left Behind has been under-funded by $70 billion since it was enacted. It is time that we make a serious commitment to the children of this nation and fully fund the most comprehensive educational policy. The CPC Budget Alternative fully funds Title I which allows an additional 4.5 million children to receive needed services. These services are essential to closing achievement gaps. In the 2005-06 school year, almost 11,000 public schools had already failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two or more years under NCLB provisions, and thus faced federal sanctions. These schools and the students they serve will face even greater challenges in the coming year as testing requirements go into full effect. If a school doesn’t meet AYP, we need to help them, not deliver punitive measures. Schools need to be given flexibility and encouragement if they don’t meet AYP. In addition, we need to put more money into designing the best possible quality tests. If we are going to put all of our faith in the tests to be indicators of achievement, those tests need to be the best they can be.
Meeting the Federal Governments promise to fund IDEA
· Over six million children with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21 receive special education services. Recognizing the importance of federal assistance in helping states and schools fund special education services, the federal government has pledged to fund 40 percent of the average nationwide per pupil expenditure to help meet the costs of educating students with disabilities. Yet, despite significant progress in the last few years, actual federal expenditures provide only 18 percent, far short of this goal. That’s why the CPC Budget fully funds our commitment to helping disabled children.
· The lack of sufficient funding to meet the needs of students with disabilities also places considerable strain on the entire school budget, as local officials are forced to increase tax revenue or cut other critical programs to provide mandated IDEA services. Inadequate special education funding impacts services to all students. Efforts to improve student achievement through implementation of higher standards, and other discretionary educational reforms, often must take a back seat to the provision of mandatory IDEA services. This is particularly true as states face mounting budget pressures and financial shortfalls, necessitating cuts in discretionary services. Meeting the federal commitment to fully fund IDEA would relieve this pressure on school districts and free up local funds for other vital education services.
Restoring cuts to job training programs
The Progressive Caucus Budget increases funding for job training to the FY02 approved level (an increase of $1.6 billion per year), which is the last year of effective funding
before massive cuts began. Returning funding to the FY02 level is a down-payment on increasing our commitment to having the best trained, strongest, and most competitive workforce in the world. Increased globalization has cost many Americans the good paying jobs of their fathers. We need the ability to retrain these workers to accommodate a changing economic base and ensure that working Americans are able to adjust.
As a down payment on bringing healthcare to all Americans, the Progressive Caucus budget moves to cover all children who are eligible under the SCHIP program. Currently, the program is grossly under funded and leaving needy children with health care. This is no way for the wealthiest nation in the world to treat its neediest and most vulnerable citizens. That is why the Progressive Caucus budget invests $75 billion over the next five years and $230 billion in the next ten years in SCHIP.
Funding for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment in
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, racial and ethnic minorities represent 71% of new AIDS cases and 64% of Americans living with AIDS. African Americans account for 50% of new AIDS cases, although only 12% of the population is black. Hispanics account for 19% of new AIDS cases, although only 14% of the population is Hispanic. Despite these trends, funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative has remained relatively flat funded over the last seven years at approximately $400 million. Additional funding will allow for increased technical assistance, capacity building, and targeted outreach in minority communities.
The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act makes federal funds available to metropolitan areas and states to provide a number of health care services for AIDS patients including medical care, drug treatments, dental care, home health care, and outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment, and also directly funds capacity building and outreach activities for community based organizations. Each year the CDC estimates that another 40,000 people become infected with HIV/AIDS. With the re-authorization of the CARE Act at the end of last year, increased funding is necessary to help provide prevention/treatment/care services in localities with emerging HIV epidemics that have been added to the CARE Act, while maintaining ongoing support for areas with mature HIV epidemics. This funding will also support increased drug treatment through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (Title II of the CARE Act), by providing anti-retroviral therapy to an additional 17,663 clients who will be able to access services through ADAP.
The CDC funds critical surveillance and prevention programs for a range of infectious diseases. Increased funding is necessary to support prevention efforts around HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's). HIV prevention funding at the CDC has faced budget cuts totaling almost $50 million over the
past four years. In those same four years 160,000 people
have become infected with HIV as the number of annual new infections in the
Income security (600)
Sec. 8 Housing
Decent and affordable housing should be a basic right. The ability to feel safe, sheltered from the elements, and enjoy your own privacy is of immense importance. Because of this, the CPC budget invests and additional $1.6 billion dollars a year in the Section 8 program to provide housing for those who need it (including Hurricane Katrina victims.) This amount would allow for the cost of renewing all vouchers in use this year, plus funding for 100,000 new "incremental" vouchers to address unmet need & long waiting lists.
Food Stamps and Hunger Prevention
More than ten years after enactment of the 1996 law, the resulting cuts in food stamp benefits contained in that law continue to deepen with each passing year and to affect most food stamp households, including most of the working poor and the elderly poor. Each year, food stamp households are able to purchase less food than the year before. The Progressive Caucus budget will enable the standard deduction to rise to $188 in 2008 and adjust it annually thereafter for inflation, thus restoring the standard deduction fully to its pre-1996 level for all household sizes (including Hurricane Katrina victims.) A typical household of three or fewer members will see its benefits increase by about $24 a month.
Veterans’ benefits and services (700)
Keeping our promises
The Progressive Caucus budget makes veterans’ health care a
new federal entitlement. It will require
the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury to make mandatory appropriations for VA
health care based upon the following formula: the amount of funds available for
VA medical care in FY2008 would equal 130% of the total obligations made by the
VA for medical care programs in FY2005.
The amounts in succeeding years would be adjusted for medical inflation
and growth in the number of veterans enrolled in VA’s health care system and
other non-veterans eligible for care from the VA. For the first time in our nation’s history,
every one of our veterans returning from service in
knowing that guaranteed funding for his/her health care (including mental health benefits) will be available.
General Government (800)
Election reform, including but not limited to HAVA improvments
The Progressive Caucus budget would provide an additional $522 million yearly for FY2008-2012 for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to assist each state in paying for implementation of voter verification systems, improvement of security measures, related security consultation services, and improved election services/administration. $20 million will be provided yearly for FY20013-2017 for additional improvements to election administration and procedures.
Restoring fairness to the Tax Code
The Progressive Caucus budget will restore substantial progressivity to the federal tax code. It will rescind all of the Bush 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the top 1 % of households earning an average of more than $1 million/year. Tax breaks for the top 1% that would be rolled back include:
· Restoring top income tax bracket to 39.6%, raising at least $96 billion;
· Repealing capital gains and dividend tax breaks, raising at least $74.4 billion;
· Rolling back the estate tax break, raising at least $74.2 billion; and
· Repealing all additional tax breaks for the top 1%, raising at least $177 billion.
It will also close the tax gap by at least $9.5 billion/year. A recent analysis by the IRS estimates that the federal government collects approximately $345 billion less than is owed to it annually. Most of this tax gap results from underreporting of income and failure to collect reported tax obligations. This amounts to a 16% noncompliance rate. In addition IRS enforcement apparatus is seriously under funded, which makes it hard to collect even known tax debts, not even taking into account tax cheats. The National Treasury Employees Union estimates that $31 in lost tax revenue can be collected for every additional dollar invested in the IRA enforcement and collections apparatus. Finally, the Progressive Caucus budget will increase federal revenue by at least $17.1 billion/year for the next year by cracking down on corporate welfare. It will close some of the copious tax loopholes and special interest tax breaks every year for the next decade. Examples include:
rising (as with oil prices in recent months), the LIFO Method generally reduces the business’ income and its tax liability;
revenue. The percentage depletion deductions can actually exceed costs and can zero out all federal taxes for oil and gas companies. The Joint Tax Committee projects the cost to be $4.7 billion/year
figure includes the amounts requested for the wars in
 See “Seven in Ten Americans Favor Congressional Candidates Who Will Pursue a Major Change in Foreign Policy: US Public Wants Less Emphasis on Military force, More on Working Through United Nations,” http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa.
 “World View of US Role Goes From Bad to Worse,” http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/incl/printable_version.php?pnt=306.
Search for a Magic Fuel,” Chicago Tribune,