Make that peace call to Rep. Pocan!

Here's an update on peace movement efforts to cut military spending plus something Madison-area folks could do right away to help: call Rep. Mark Pocan. He is a key link in a new national effort to defund the Pentagon, but this struggle won’t be easy.

Two weeks ago President Biden alarmed peace people by proposing to increase the military budget to $753 billion. We had hoped for better. The current [Trump] budget is a bloated $740 billion. Many in and out of Congress have asked for a 10% cut to no more than $666 billion.

About 15 Milwaukeeans active in peace groups met by zoom 5/10 with Rep. Moore to ask for the 10% cut. She explained that most Republicans in Congress and many Democrats think the military budget is too low. She said that the debate in Congress will be about holding to Biden’s budget or increasing it!

Rep. Moore said that she supports lowering the military budget but is not committing to shutting down the government over it.

National efforts to cut the military budget and move the money to human needs have shifted into high gear.

Code Pink has offered leadership in a new coalition, coordinated by Marcy Winograd and Media Benjamin. It includes Kevin Martin from national Peace Action and Jackie Cabasso from United for Peace and Justice. A recent zoom strategy session included folks active in the Poor People's Campaign, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Our Revolution.

Rep. Mark Pocan could be a central player in this cut-the-Pentagon effort. He recently co-founded, with Rep. Barbara Lee, the House Defense Spending Reduction Caucus. The group has 22 members [see below] including “The Squad” but, as we understand it, is still discussing goals and strategy. This is the time to call.

The ask: Pocan speak out for a minimum 10% cut from Trump's current budget, convince other Reps. in the caucus to make the same pledge, and specifically oppose any new nuclear weapons programs.

Rep. Pocan will likely be receptive to your ask. He recently tweeted that President Biden's budget has a $13 billion increase in defense spending. Spending 1.7% more on defense than Trump isn't building back better. Cut the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, contractor profits, & any new spending on nukes. We need to actually decrease the Pentagon budget. 

To call Mark Pocan:

Washington, DC 20515, Phone: 202-225-2906 * Beloit, WI 53511,  Phone: 608-365-8001* Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-258-9800)

A great source of peace movement information and activity is Code Pink <https://www.codepink.org/>.

They host a “Capitol Calling Party” every Tuesday at 7 pm CT with excellent speakers and then a mass call-in to Congress on the issue of the evening.

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List of the initial members of the House Defense Spending Reduction Caucus:

Barbara Lee (CA-13); Mark Pocan (WI-2); Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12); Ilhan Omar (MN-5); Raùl Grijalva (AZ-3); Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11); Jan Schakowsky(ILL-9); Pramila Jayapal (WA-7); Jared Huffman (CA-2); Alan Lowenthal (CA-47); James P. McGovern (MA-2); Peter Welch (VT-at large); Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14); Frank Pallone, Jr (NJ-6).;  Rashida Tlaib (MI-13); Ro Khanna (CA-17); Lori Trahan (MA-3); Steve Cohen (TN-9); Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Anna Eshoo (CA-18).

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Submitted to WNPJ by Steve Watrous, president of the United Nations Association – Greater Milwaukee chapter and active in Milwaukee's Ends the Wars Coalition. <watrous@uwm.edu>