US writing 'blank cheques' for new weapons systems

By agency reporter
April 2, 2008

The Bush administration is writing blank checks for weapons systems that are hundreds of billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule while cutting funds that help real people at home and abroad, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) said yesterday.

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this week found that the US has spent $295 billion more than budgeted on 95 weapons systems, bringing the total price of the systems to $1.6 trillion.

“This new report illustrates the poor choices being made by our elected officials in Washington. The people of the United States should be outraged,” said Joe Volk, Executive Secretary of FCNL.

“The extra $295 billion provided for these weapons programs could be used to improve a range of diplomatic, domestic human needs, and environmental programs that would make people in the US safer, healthier, and better equipped for the future.”

FCNL lobbyists have suggested that $295 billion would provide $40 billion in additional support for diplomatic programs, a “diplomatic surge” in Iraq, and a Civilian Response Corps for the next 10 years. It could also provide $10 billion to provide home heating for the next 10 years to one million low-income households, $70 billion to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program to four million eligible uninsured children for 10 years, $20 billion for 10 years of additional support for food stamps, and $10 billion for housing vouchers over the next 10 years.

This would still leave $40 billion to secure all loose nuclear fuel around the world through the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, $22 billion to double the State Department budget, $13 billion for restoring and increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for the next 10 years, $10 billion to fully fund Head Start for the next 10 years and $60 billion to fully fund the Indian Health Program for 10 years.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, the oldest registered religious lobby in Washington, is a non-partisan Quaker lobby in the public interest. FCNL works with a nationwide network of tens of thousands of people from every state in the US to advocate for social and economic justice, peace, and good government.

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