Latest Action Alert

State of the Union: Shared Values for All?

January 21, 2015

Dear Friend,

In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama called on members of Congress, and all of us, to make our public policies a reflection of shared values.

He presented a vision and specific proposals to move the country in that direction: raising the minimum wage, expanding child care and sick leave benefits, improving access to a college education and working cooperatively with other nations to address problems ranging from climate change to violent extremism.

Now it's Congress' turn and our turn—to find places of agreement, and in some cases to go further than President Obama was willing. Please write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper calling on your members of Congress, by name, to work together to bring the vision of a more peaceful and just world closer to reality.

President Obama didn't talk last night about the outsized—and increasing—portion of our national budget that goes to the military. Today, our country is spending as much on the military as we did at the height of the Cold War, and the Pentagon still wants an extra $50 billion in a slush fund (the Overseas Contingency Operation fund) not subject to congressional oversight.

Unless members of Congress are willing to reject increases in military spending, funding the kinds of needed economic programs that the president proposed will be difficult. In your letter to the editor, ask your members of Congress to support eliminating funding for the Pentagon's Overseas Contingency Operation fund.

After more than a decade of war, we know that there is no military solution to the threat of violent extremism. Yet the open-ended authorization for the use of military force, passed just days after September 11, 2001, still stands and is in use by the Obama administration.

If we are truly looking to "turn the page" on the past 15 years, as President Obama called on the country to do, Congress can start by repealing the authorization that has justified so much of the misguided and fear-driven responses to the threat of violent extremism. In your letter to the editor, ask your members of Congress to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.

The State of the Union address marks the beginning of a policy debate on the critical issues of economic justice, peace and sustainability. Will you be part of that discussion? Your letter to the editor can help persuade Congress and the president to work together on key policy issues of concern to all of us.

Sincerely,

Diane Randall
Executive Secretary

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