Adam Smith Defense spending Democrats Military Spending War Washington State Politics

WA Dems pass a resolution calling for lower military spending

At the state party meeting in Pasco last weekend, the Washington State Democratic Central Committee passed  a resolution calling for Rep. Adam Smith, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, to work to lower military spending.   The resolution’s THEREFORE clause reads:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we, the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, call on Rep. Adam Smith to work to decrease military spending including spending by the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, but excluding Basic Allowance for Subsistence, Basic Allowance for Housing, base pay and other programs that uplift our military members and families.

You can find the resolution on the wa-democrats website here. (At the time of this writing, the page omits the WHEREAS clauses, but you can find them here, in the text that I sent the Progressive Caucus and that was adopted by them and by the state committee members in Pasco. The resolution emerged from the resolution I penned in January; the WHEREAS clauses are almost identical.)

The language in the resolution about excluding Basic Allowance, etc. was added as an amendment when the Progressive Caucus was considering the resolution.  I preferred the resolution without the amendment but once the amendment was proposed, it was difficult to oppose. Who doesn’t want to support our troops?

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA, 2nd CD) also sits on the House Armed Services Committee. It might have been reasonable to amend the resolution to ask both him and Rep. Smith to work to lower military spending.

News reports from D.C. suggest that Democrats in Congress will agree to raise the Pentagon budget to $733 billion for 2020. See Uh-oh, military spending may rise again, and the Democratic leadership is on board.  Rep. Smith says he was pushing for lower spending than the rest of the Democratic leadership.

The resolution is a small victory for Democrats and pacifists. Getting it passed required quite a bit of struggle. The 41st LD Democrats rejected the resolution in February, due to the opposition of Chair Richard Erwin, who works for Boeing and who told me that he would oppose the resolution due to my having emailed a draft to the precinct committee officers without first getting his permission.  But I resubmitted the resolution to the Washington State Democratic Progressive Caucus, who approved it and forwarded to the state party, whose state committee members approved it in Pasco.

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