Pentagon spending

Bringing your message to Sen. Murray

Casey, Michael, Kol, Mary and Orion the Great Horned Owl

The deficit super committee’s deadline is fast approaching, and so far there is little information about where they are leaning in coming up with a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion. The opponents of smart reductions in military and nuclear spending have been grossly exaggerating the impacts of reducing the Pentagon budget, so this is a key time for us to push back. You’ve been emailing, calling, and writing to the super committee, and this week we took your message directly to Sen. Murray’s staff in Washington State.

Peace Action West supporter and Washingtonian Mary Parmenter put together a great delegation to meet with Sen. Murray’s local staffer. We started out with Kol Medina of the West Sound Wildlife Shelter. He shared how the economic downturn is hurting donations to their shelter, which rescues, treats and released injured and orphaned wildlife. Michael Pratt brought Orion, a beautiful Great Horned Owl whom he uses in educational programs. It was amazing to see this animal up close, and Kol told how decreases in education funding mean that fewer kids in public schools are able to interact with animals and learn about wildlife and environmentalism through their programs. It’s not every day that you get to see a Great Horned Owl in someone’s living room, and hopefully the experience will stick in Sen. Murray’s staffer Kristine’s memory.

Casey Pleskun from the Kitsap Housing Authority shared letters from families who have benefited from their programs to build and fix homes. The very home we met in benefited from one of Kitsap Housing’s programs, in which they weatherize homes and make them much more energy efficient and affordable to heat. Casey said that community development block grants they rely on from the federal government are on the chopping block, and they already have 70 people on their waiting list for services. Not only does Kitsap Housing help people in need; it also pumps money into the local economy and provides much-needed jobs.

I handed Kristine postcards to the super committee, and told her that many of the messages you all have written express support for cutting the military budget precisely because you want to save programs like the ones we talked about in this meeting. We encouraged Sen. Murray to push back against the hyperbolic language used by opponents of cutting the military budget, and offered her specific suggestions of where the super committee to cut to save billions of dollars over the next decade.

In these last few weeks, we need to keep the pressure coming. If you haven’t yet, please click here to send a message to the super committee urging them to cut wasteful military and nuclear spending.