SUPPORTING H 5755 : RESPECTFULLY URGING RHODE ISLAND’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING AND PRIORITIZE CLIMATE ACTION

Resolution 5755 will appear before the State Government and Elections Committee on Wednesday March 24 at 4pm and the Peace & Anti-war community of RI need your help! 

**READ THROUGH TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR ACTION ITEMS TO HELP PRIORITIZE CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIANCE OVER MILITARY EXCESS – let’s get our priorities straight!**

Peace activists across Rhode Island, working with inspired legislators – including Representatives Brandon Potter, David Morales, Brianna Henries, and Senator Tiara Mack  are currently urging Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation to prioritize climate resilience for our communities over military spending.

RI House Resolution H5755 RESPECTFULLY URGING RHODE ISLAND’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING AND PRIORITIZE CLIMATE ACTION – recognizes the egregious misallocation of our limited resources toward excess militarism at the dire expense of RI’s communities amid a global climate crisis.

Resolution 5755 will appear before the State Government and Elections Committee on Wednesday March 24 at 4pm and we need your help! 

FACTS

Please Consider the following: 

1) The military budget is off the charts:

  • The Department of Defense budget does not  include nuclear arsenal spending which is part of the Department of Energy budget. Nor does the Department of Defense include Veteran Affairs.  Add all such hidden costs to  the $741 billion 2021 Pentagon budget and the total military spending comes to $1.2 trillion;
  • That is more than $3,500 per year per person, young and old, about $275,000 over a lifetime; and
  • Rhode Island tax payers contributed $2.3 billion to the military in 2018.

2) Military spending crowds out spending on domestic needs:

  • 53% of federal discretionary spending goes to defense as opposed to 5% for education, 6% for health, 3% for transportation, 4% for energy and the environment and 1% for food and agriculture;
  • A 10% cut in the military budget could house a million homeless people or create a million good infrastructure jobs or a million well-paying green energy jobs or hire 900,000 new teachers or provide college education for two million students; and
  • In 2015, over 16,000 Rhode Island veterans, 23% of the state’s veteran population had  incomes below $35,000.

3) Funding the defense industry jobs is an inefficient way of creating jobs:

  • Compared to military spending, clean energy jobs provide 40% more bang for the buck; for health care it’s 70% more; for education it’s no less than 150%; and
  • The Pentagon has failed each of the three audits conducted since 2018. Weapons projects waste billions. It is predicted that it will take until the end of the decade before the Pentagon can pass an audit.
  • Weapons projects such as the F35,  waste trillions of dollars

4) The US global military presence is destabilizing:

  • We are on the verge of another nuclear arms race and the threat of an accidental nuclear exchange is greater than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis;
  • It has not made the world safer. Afghanistan is not closer to peace than it was in 2001. Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and Yemen and much of Africa are in chaos;
  • Surplus military equipment is given to local police forces, bringing the war military methods and training and military violence to our streets; and
  • From 2000 to 2014, RI law enforcement received at least $8.5 million in federal military equipment.

5) US military greenhouse gas pollution:

  • If the US military were a country, its fuel usage alone would make it—between Peru and Portugal—the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world; and
  • The United States insisted on an exemption for reporting military emissions in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. This loophole was closed by the Paris Accord; current status: unknown.

6) Military spending has not made us safe:

7) Intergenerational justice demands that we redirect federal military spending toward a Green New Deal;

  • In 2019 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change repeated its 2018 warning that “We will only be able to keep global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels if we effect unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society, including energy, land and ecosystems, urban and infrastructure as well as industry.”
  • There must be a just transition for those employed in the war economy with special attention to vulnerable and marginalized communities.

ACTION ITEMS

1. Send a thank you email to the hardworking legislators:

Representative Potter: rep-potter@rilegislature.gov 

Representative Morale: rep-morales@rilegislature.gov  

Representative Henries:rep-henries@rilegislature.gov  

– who have sponsored this peace legislation. We believe it is essential for legislators to know that when they carry legislation forward for the peace and anti-war community we have their back and appreciate their work. 

Here is a Script that you are welcome to use:

Dear Representative [Insert Name],

I write with heartfelt thanks for the hard work and support you have lent to the General Assembly Resolution H5755 – RESPECTFULLY URGING RHODE ISLAND’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING AND PRIORITIZE CLIMATE ACTION. 

As a member of the Rhode Island community I strongly believe in the power of this statement for peace. We must reverse overspending on the military and underspending on climate resilience! This shift in priorities will deliver important benefits for the people of RI and beyond. I look forward to working with you to see this initiative meet with success. 

Yours in Gratitude,

[Insert Your Name]  

2. Contact your local General Assembly representative and let them know you’d like them to support this initiative. 

We need to generate both a groundswell of support in the community and in the legislature to meet with success. The more Assembly reps we can get to sign on, sponsor and support this bill – the greater the chances of success. 

An information sheet on how to find who your representative is: HERE

Dear Representative [Insert Name],

I am a constituent of your district and I write seeking your support for an important RI General Assembly Resolution: H5755 – RESPECTFULLY URGING RHODE ISLAND’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING AND PRIORITIZE CLIMATE ACTION.

This resolution makes a clear and important statement for peace. Rhode Islanders see clearly how the military budget is crowding out investments in our communities and our social priorities including education, infrastructure, transportation, food and housing security. Amid a rapidly unfolding climate crisis we desperately need to prioritize investments in climate resilience. We know the impacts of climate change affect most those who can least afford it, compounding extant racial and social inequalities. Studies show conclusively that investing in industries such as health and education lead to far better employment outcomes for our state than military investment. This resolution addresses these facts.

For more information on this resolution, please see these three published Resolution Fact Sheets  put together by a concerned group of Rhode Island citizens.

We hope you can sponsor, support, and vote for this important bill.

Yours Sincerely

[Insert Your Name]  

3. Sign up for written or spoken testimony. 

**TIME SENSITIVE: Sign up for Verbal Testimony before 4:00 PM on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Submit Written Testimony before 1pm on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

To be successful we need citizens concerned about the out-of-control war industry to speak up and speak out. Reining in the military-industrial complex begins on the local level. Instructions for the State Government and Elections Committee are : here and below on how to register for both written and spoken testimony, and the specifics of Tuesday’s deadlines.  

Feel free to write something short – any and all statements help enormously. Above all we want to show that we have widespread support.These information sheets will help you to prepare a statement – we recommend cutting and pasting the part that speaks to you:

Resolution :

Talking Points & Supporting Facts  – here

Detailed Information – here

W/ Graphs – here

FURTHER INFORMATION ON HOW TO CONTRIBUTE WRITTEN and/or VERBAL TESTIMONY

The State House remains closed to in-person testimony. 

The meeting will be televised on Capitol Television, which can be seen on Cox Channels 15, and 61, in high definition on Cox Channel 1061, on Full Channel on Channel 15 and on Channel 34 by Verizon subscribers.
It will also be live streamed at http://rilegislature.gov/CapTV/Pages/default.aspx

WRITTEN TESTIMONY 

Written testimony is strongly encouraged and may be submitted via 

HouseStateGovernmentandElections@rilegislature.gov 

Indicate your name, bill number, and viewpoint (for/against/neither) at top of message. Due to high volume, clerks are not screening this inbox for verbal testimony requests. This inbox is for written testimony only. 

DEADLINE: Written testimony should be submitted no later than three (3) hours prior to the posted meeting time. Every effort will be made to share written testimony submitted before the deadline with committee members prior to the hearing. Testimony received after deadline will be sent to committee members and posted to the website as soon as possible. 

For faster processing, it is recommended that testimony is submitted as a PDF file. Testimony will be posted on the General Assembly website, 

http://www.rilegislature.gov/Special/comdoc/Pages/HSGE.aspx . 

VERBAL TESTIMONY 

Due to the extremely high volume of requests, and in order to accommodate as many constituents as possible, please take note of the revised procedure for verbal testimony:
*DEADLINE: Requests for verbal testimony must be submitted via the link, by 4:00 PM
on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. 

For verbal testimony requests, CLICK HERE
Verbal testimony accepted on any bill scheduled for “Hearing and/or Consideration” only 

The committee is unable to designate a specific time that you will be called. In the event you are unavailable when called, witnesses are urged to submit written testimony. 

Jill Cataldi
Committee Clerk
222-4435 HouseStateGovernmentandElections@rilegislature.gov 

A huge thank you to all engaged in this struggle to set our priorities straight!! We’ll win locally on our way to Washington!

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