National Priorities Project

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The United States federal budget is a powerful resource: at $4 trillion, it’s about a fifth of the U.S. economy. What’s more, those resources come from us: a government for and by the people.

There is enormous power in these shared resources. We can harness that power to make our lives better, to create a more just and humane society. On the other hand, that power can be used to perpetuate destructive cycles of war, militarism, violence and oppression that go back to our nation’s founding and before.

Budgets are moral documents. It’s our responsibility as Americans to create a federal budget that upholds our most cherished values.

The National Priorities Project works to inspire and inform movements and individuals so that our federal resources prioritize peace, shared prosperity, and economic prosperity for all. We are the only nonprofit, non-partisan federal budget research organization in the nation with the mission to make the federal budget accessible to the American public.

We empower people to affect change through the creation of understandable, down to earth trainings, analysis, graphics and reports to illustrate how the federal budget affects us all, from the local level to the international.

Latest Work

The Biden Budget Does Some Good on Poverty and Fairness. It Could Do More if it Cut the Pentagon.

It's clear that keeping the status quo on Pentagon spending means needlessly keeping millions mired in poverty
An armed U.S. contractor stands in the doorway of a ruined church in Mosul, Iraq (Shutterstock)

IPS Looks Back on 20 Years of Endless War and Border Militarization

We didn’t stop the Iraq War, but we changed history. Here’s a look at the legacy of the last two decades — and the brighter future that can follow.

One of the Highest Military Budgets in History

Last week, the White House released President Biden’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2024, which begins October 1 of 2023. As usual, the biggest portion of the discretionary budget request […]
The Department of Homeland Security logo is seen.

After 20 Years, the Department of Homeland Security Is a Money-Guzzling Failure

From its earliest beginnings, DHS has been associated with some of our country's worst scandals.

A Quarter of Biden’s Budget Will Go to Pentagon Contractors

March 9 – Today the White House released the President’s budget request, laying out the President’s priorities for the country.  The $1.6 trillion discretionary spending request includes an eye-popping $886 billion for the Pentagon […]
covid-19 vs military spending

A Quarter of Biden’s Budget Will Go to Pentagon Contractors

Today the White House released the President’s budget request, laying out the President’s priorities for the country.

Seven Things We Could Do If We Cut the Pentagon by $100 Billion

We could fund programs that meet real human needs for basics like housing, food, education, and child care.
American flag with the faces of immigrants on it, and a person is walking in front profiled.

Senators Failed to Add Anti-Immigrant Border Policy to Budget Deal

Yesterday, two anti-immigrant amendments that would have extended the legacy of the draconian Trump-era immigration policy, Title 42, each took the Senate floor for a vote. Both failed. Title 42 […]
A person with long and a blue shirt has their arms outstretched with money fanned out in hands. The money is on fire and covering their face.

Pentagon Fails Audit, Asks for More Money (Again)

Congress is set to shell out more money to the Pentagon, in spite of the agency once again failing to show that it knows where its money goes.
Oahu water protectors

Defueling Red Hill Is Not Enough: It’s Time to Demilitarize the Asia-Pacific

This fall, organizers with the O’ahu water protectors in Hawai’i made the long trek to the White House to demand an immediate shut down of the Red Hill bulk fuel […]

FACT SHEET: No National Security without Climate Security

How Washington's climate spending compares to its investments in the military.
Photo of people at rally holding cardboard sign that says "DEFUND THE POLICE" with a white sign nearby showing a black outline stencil of MLK Jr. and "BLM" written on the bottom.

Police Violence is Gun Violence Too

"If we want to begin making our communities safer from gun violence, the first step must be to invest in ourselves, because lord knows the police won’t save us."
U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee speaking at an event

The Pentagon Doesn’t Need More Money. These Things Do.

Even $100 billion is actually a modest cut when it comes to the Pentagon. We could cut much more and end up even safer.
illustration of money being exchanged for nuclear weapons

While the Nation Reels, the Pentagon Budget Keeps Ramping Up Nuclear Weapons

With a full vote for this year’s NDAA expected in July, it is not too late to turn the tide. It is time to say no to nuclear weapons.
Pentagon Increases Could Almost Fund Build Back Better

Pentagon Increases in 2022 Could Almost Fund Build Back Better

The National Defense Authorization Act is expected to receive a full vote in July. It's not too late for members of Congress to change course.
U.S. Versus World Military Spending, 2021

U.S. Still Spends More on Military Than Next Nine Countries Combined

Over-investment in the military is a factor that left the U.S. so vulnerable to the pandemic in the first place.
top gun militarism

Only in Top Gun Can the Military Solve All Our Problems

In real life, plowing money into shiny fighter jets while Americans struggle and the climate burns makes us less safe.
surveillance camera with police walking in the background

We Won't Trade E-Carceration for Detention - We Must End All Immigrant Incarceration

Far from being the "alternative to detention" it's sold as, e-carceration is booming right alongside a growing number of immigrant detention beds.
defund hate coalition rally - carl roose afsc

Beyond the Enforcement Paradigm

A vision for a transformative budget for U.S. immigration.
A column of armored personnel carriers rides on a winter road. Ukraine prepares to defend its country from Russian invasion

It's Almost As If Military Spending Isn't the Key to Peace

U.S. and NATO militaries spent more than 17 times as much as Russia. Putin still waged war on Ukraine.
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