California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee called for the Pentagon budget to be defunded in a tweet Thursday evening.
The tweet, which had been shared nearly 80,000 times by Friday morning, was echoed by Jamaal Bowman, who had a nearly-insurmountable lead over Democratic New York Rep. Eliot Engel in the state’s 16th district primary.
Lee’s district includes Oakland and is one of the bluest in the country, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. She has been one of the most outspoken members in the House on the need to address systemic racism, and has championed policies including “Medicare for All” and legislation removing all Confederate monuments.
Lee’s Thursday tweet was not the first time she has called for decreasing the Pentagon’s budget. On June 8, she introduced legislation to formally defund the Department of Defense, saying that “it remains Congress’ intent to reduce defense waste, increase transparency, and reduce or eliminate poor management practices at the Department of Defense.”
While Lee has been on the forefront of calls to decrease defense spending, calls to defund the police have been echoed by Democrats across the country. The message has been amplified by protests, headed into their sixth consecutive week, following the death of George Floyd, who was killed after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Lee’s proposed legislation would cut the Department of Defense’s budget by $350 billion, a nearly 50% decrease from the $705 billion proposed budget for 2021.