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

A man holding Stop Asian Hate sign

Beware the Anti-China Sentiment Pushing Us Towards Another Cold War

If the United States can’t learn to cooperate with China, our future will be one of constant escalation of wars and threats of wars and all that comes with them

The Biden Asylum Ban Swings Back and Forth in Judicial Courts

For now, the asylum ban is still here, and every day that it is in effect is a day that thousands of asylum seekers are turned away from the border on top of the 2.7 million denials justified under Title 42

The Culture Wars Are Hijacking Debate On the Military Budget

Republicans want to fill the defense bill with bans on abortion, trans health care, and racial diversity initiatives in the military.

Dwight Was Right: ​Congress Must Say No to Military Contractors

The world Eisenhower warned about has materialized. We need more members of Congress to stand up to the arms industry and fight for social investments instead.
Group of young adults, photographed from above, on various painted tarmac surface, at sunrise.

On July Fourth, Let’s Celebrate by Reimagining Immigration Policy

It’s not too late for President Biden to set a precedent of treating migrants with care, dignity, and respect, and request that Congress cut spending on deportations and detentions.

A Peek into the Poor People's Campaign Moral Poverty Action Congress

If there’s one thing the Poor People’s Campaign knows how to do, it is: energizing a room full of people with hearty music and mesmerizing messages. The Poor People’s Campaign […]
Black handgun and ammunition on American 100 dollar bills that are fanned out.

Debt Ceiling Deal Reinforced Washington’s Old Double Standard for Military Spending

The budget deal was supposed to slow spending, but the most expensive federal agency didn’t get a budget cut — it got a raise. 

For GOP, Debt Ceiling Deal Was Never About Debt — It Was About Conserving Power

Conservatives weaponized the debt deal to consolidate power. Let’s use the budget to create new power structures.

Parity, Schmarity: The Budget Deal Gives 56% of the Discretionary Budget to the Military

The budget deal struck by the White House and House Republicans could set a damaging precedent.

REPORT: The Warfare State: How Funding for Militarism Compromises Our Welfare

Nearly two-thirds of the federal discretionary budget goes to militarized federal programs, leaving just over a third for our communities — a sliver some lawmakers want to cut even further.

The U.S. Still Spends More on Its Military Than Over 144 Nations Combined

World military spending reached a new record high of $2.4 trillion in 2022, with the United States spending the most by far.

Climate and Militarism Converges at Power Shift 2023

I co-lead a session at Power Shift 2023, during which we strategized how to untangle the links between militarism and the climate crisis.

Tax Day 2023: Where Your 2022 Tax Dollars Went

IPS's National Priorities Project takes a look at where American taxpayers' money went in 2022, and how skewed our national priorities are.

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.
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