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Protesters chide Jack Reed for excessive military spending



Several people held signs outside United States Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)’s Cranston office Tuesday afternoon protesting his support for “endless war and excessive military spending.”

Reed voted in support of the largest military budget ever last year, $696 billion, and allowed the continuation of the unauthorized wars in the Middle East. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representatives James Langevin and David Cicilline also voted in support of the spending. The $696 billion was well beyond what President Donald Trump requested.

Jonathan Daly-Labelle and David Oppenheimer have previously staged a demonstration outside Langevin’s office, writing, “Our representatives defend this spending in terms of new jobs. We believe job creation should not be funneled to only one sector of our economy while our schools and roads are in disrepair and our tax dollars will be needed for health care and patching a safety net torn by federal budget cuts.”

“Senator Reed respects activists who care deeply about our country and appreciates having the benefit of their views,” wrote Chip Unruh, Senator Reed’s press secretary. “They may not see eye to eye on every part of the defense bill, but I think there is common ground on both the right to speak out and the need to responsibly provide our troops with the support they deserve.”

I spoke to Daly-Labelle at the protest. “A lot of people don’t realize that our congressional delegation is voting for more military spending for Trump and the Pentagon than even they are requesting,” said Daly-Labelle. “So Jack Reed’s office is here… He’s got a D behind his name so everyone says, ‘What a great guy.’ I don’t know if he is or not but he’s not making the right votes.”

“We are protesting because the final authorization for this spending has not yet been voted on and given what we know now about the new federal tax plan and how it impacts state and local budgets and the funding of the safety net for citizens in need, there is still time to pressure our Democratic representatives to call for prioritizing domestic spending,” said Daly-Labelle and Oppenheimer in their event listing. “Our Democratic representatives should be exercising oversight on the Republican administration, not rubber stamping war in new arenas by default.”

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Protesters target the Rhode Island congressional delegation’s support for war

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.