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Barney Frank Gets the Ball Rolling
By Steve Cobble, MilitaryBudgetCutsNow
Congressman Barney Frank yesterday called a meeting on Capitol Hill to discuss his proposal to cut 25% from the military budget. He specifically invited grassroots activists and organizations interested in a less expensive, saner, less warlike military budget to come meet with him, to get the ball rolling towards reform.
Frank pushed the need for organizations and coalitions interested in domestic social needs to join the military budget cuts fight--otherwise, he said, they would not have the money for their own needed projects. He also handed out his excellent Nation essay.
Congressman Frank was joined by about 75 activists, and 4 of his colleagues: Rep. Barbara Lee, new Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; Rep. Lynn Woolsey, current Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Rep. Dennis Kucinich; and Rep. Keith Ellison. All 5 spoke briefly, and pointed out how important this effort was, both to provide needed funding for health care and alternative energy initiatives, and to create a safer world.
Military reform experts Larry Korb and Gordon Adams also spoke, making a case for a military budget based not on political power or DOD wish lists, but based on strategy and real defense needs.
Congressman Frank then engaged in an extensive Q&A session with the audience, and made it clear that he saw this meeting as the first of many. He stressed that this will be a long fight, a drawn-out process, and that winning more funding for projects like housing the homeless might well require a two-step, year-long process: step one, putting a maximum cap on this year's military budget, forcing the DOD to make adjustments; and step two, then pushing to win more funding for domestic needs in next year's budget. He understood that no one was particularly overjoyed with this, but said that might be the only choice...