Skip to Content

Press Releases


Phillips calls on Congress to evaluate spending priorities, make smarter long-term investments

Washington, D.C. – With great frustration today, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) voted against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024.

“In an era of partisanship, the NDAA has been a lasting example of bipartisan collaboration,” said Rep. Phillips. “Congress must comprise for the greater good of keeping our country safe, but this year, extremists took the historic process hostage by injecting partisan amendments that erode freedoms and pose a clear danger to female servicemembers, LGBTQ servicemembers, and military families. I’m appalled that Republican leaders allowed far-right members of their party to hijack the process, undermine our security, and disregard decades of collegial precedent.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Dean Phillips introduced an amendment to the FY24 NDAA that would have required the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to issue a report translating the defense budget in terms of how many salaries, social services, or humanitarian needs it could fund. For example, the cost to purchase one F-35 fighter jet - $177 million - could fund 6,206 daycare workers’ annual salaries, while the average cost per year to operate one aircraft carrier - $1.47 billion – could fully fund tuition for 190,463 community college associate’s degrees. 

“It’s time we have a robust conversation on the impacts of our national spending. Defense spending is critical to our national security, but so is understanding the implications of its costs,” Phillips continued. “ This year’s budget reached a record $886 billion, an inconceivably vast amount that, given our limited budget, comes with tradeoffs in other areas of federal spending.  My proposed amendment would visualize those incomprehensible budget numbers in common-sense terms anyone can understand and, hopefully, encourages a national conversation about the type of future we’re investing in for the American people.”

The proposed Phillips amendment would have assisted in producing the information Congress needs to adequately confront the realities of its fiscal decisions by restating any Department of Defense expenditures exceeding $10 million in the following terms:

  • Number of daycare worker’s annual salaries potentially funded
  • Number of Department of Veteran’s Affairs nurses’ annual salaries potentially funded
  • Number of community college associates degrees potentially funded