Friday, March 30, 2007

Common Sense Budget Act Charts New Course for US Economy

Washington, DC - As Congress debates the FY'08 budget, Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey this week introduced the Common Sense Budget Act, a measure that cuts government waste and reallocates the savings to returning veterans' healthcare, public schools, health insurance for children, job training, energy independence, and deficit reduction

The bill, with 22 original co-sponsors and an endorsement by Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, is the centerpiece of a growing movement lobbying for increased federal accountability and oversight, and the elimination of government waste, fraud and abuse.

The two-pronged legislation cancels weapons programs developed for Cold War era conflicts, such as excessive nuclear weapons, the unproven ballistic missile defense system, and the controversial F-22 fighter jet, and redirects the $60 billion dollar savings to other top-priority programs facing funding shortfalls.

“We need to overturn the notion that pouring money into weapons systems that were designed to fight the Soviet Union makes our nation safer, especially when it means shortchanging the kind of preventive security solutions that are critical to combating global terrorism,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

“If we cut $60 billion in Pentagon waste and redirect the savings to other priorities, our nation will regain the comparative advantage: it’s time for a healthy, educated, energy-independent America,” Business Leaders’ President Ben Cohen said today.

“American businesses are committed to supporting the critical programs that fund America’s readiness and strengthen our domestic and global stability and competitiveness. Our federal tax dollars must be committed based on cost effectiveness and value-added --not political payoffs,” said Business Leaders Board Chairman Warren Langley, former president of the Pacific Stock Exchange.

The cuts to wasteful Pentagon spending in the new bill were identified by Lawrence J. Korb, assistant defense secretary under Ronald Reagan. His detailed report identifies $60 billion of Pentagon waste that could be trimmed from the defense budget—without hurting America’s ability to fight the Iraq War or defend against extremists. Korb'sreport is available on the Business Leaders website at

“By maintaining Cold War-level Pentagon budgets even as America is the unrivaled remaining superpower, our nation undermines its long-term growth potential. We’ve neglected social and economic infrastructure, reduced investment in human capital, and weakened the health and productivity of our labor force. Meanwhile, the excessive Pentagon budget has contributed to our ballooning debt and deficit. We need to stop the deficit financing of our military-industrial complex and formulate a better business plan for America, onethat’s based on sensible budget priorities,” said Cohen.

Interviews with the following lawmakers, business leaders and military experts are available through the month of April:

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey – Rep. Woolsey is in her eight term as the representative from California’s 6th District.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee – Rep. Lee represents California’s ninth Congressional District and serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

Ben Cohen - President, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities.

Lawrence Korb - Senior Advisor to Priorities Campaign; former asst. defense secretary under President Reagan.

Vice Admiral John J. Shanahan, U.S. Navy (ret.) - Director of Military Advisory Committee, Priorities Campaign.

Warren Langley - Board Chairman, Priorities Campaign; former president of Pacific Stock Exchange.

Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities is comprised of 700 business executives anddistinguished military authorities who want to shift America's budget priorities to increase federal investment in education, healthcare, energy independence, job training and deficit reduction --at no additional taxpayer expense-- by reducing funding for outdated Cold War weapons. For more information on Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, please visit


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