National Civil Rights Groups Urge Presidential Candidates to Eliminate Wasteful Defense Spending

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A coalition of leading national African American and Latino groups are deeply concerned about economic crisis and have sent letter to presidential candidates asking that they exercise fiscal responsibility and rein in unrestricted defense spending at the Pentagon.

Rather than wasteful defense spending to the fiscal tune of trillions, America must strike a more meaningful cash chord to address the country's crippling health crisis, fully fund education needs, and veterans' benefits that disproportionately impact communities of color

A coalition of leading national African American and Latino groups deeply concerned about the nation's looming economic crisis is asking both Democrat and Republican presidential candidates to exercise fiscal responsibility and rein in unrestrained defense spending at the Pentagon. The Black Leadership Forum (BLF) and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) have written a joint letter to Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama in which they highlight out of control defense programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) that are crippling domestic budgetary priorities.

"Rather than wasteful defense spending to the fiscal tune of trillions, America must strike a more meaningful cash chord to address the country's crippling health crisis, fully fund education needs, and veterans' benefits that disproportionately impact communities of color," stated Gary Flowers, Black Leadership Forum Executive Director & CEO.

In the letter, BLF and LULAC point to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) as one of the costliest Pentagon programs that are eating away at other vital domestic priorities. Congress' very own accountability office, the GAO recently pointed that the Pentagon has gone $300.00 billion over budget on the JSF, while encountering multiple delays and technical flaws that continue to plague the program for decades to come. The JSF is the DoD's single most expensive defense line item ever with a final price tag expected to reach the 1 trillion dollar mark upon completion.

"Cutting back substantially on the JSF, for example, would free up much needed funding for other critical domestic priorities in the federal budget," said Brent Wilkes, Executive Director, LULAC. "One trillion dollars being misspent in the JSF could fund universal healthcare and universal preschool, while expanding veterans' benefits and solving the widening mortgage crisis with hundreds of billions of dollars left over".
Both LULAC and BLF will continue to urge presidential candidates to force the Pentagon to exercise common sense in their budgets, starting with the costliest and most beleaguered programs first such as the JSF program.

About the groups:

Black Leadership Forum, Inc:

Founded in 1977, the Black Leadership Forum, Inc. is an alliance of 36 national Black organizations linked to influence legislation impacted Black people. With over 6,000 chapters and affiliates in 50 states, member organizations reach over 10,000 Black people in the United States of America.

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC):
The League of United Latin American Citizens advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide.

Contact: Gary Flowers, 202-689-1965

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Ayanna Najuma
Lincoln-McLeod
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