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

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.
military personnel walking

Cut Pentagon Spending, Save the Planet

This year, the United States will spend twice as much every day on the military than it does on international climate aid all year.
NPP tax day graphic

Tax Day 2022: We Got The Receipts

How does our government actually spend our tax dollars? NPP has the receipts.
front entrance of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement Agency building

Biden FY 2023 Budget Maintains Trump-Era Spending on ICE and CBP

Over the span of 20 years, spending on ICE and CBP more than doubled alongside steady growth in other forms of militarized spending.
money swirling down a drain

About That $900 You Gave Pentagon Contractors

This tax season, I’d rather fund green jobs and disease control than jets that spontaneously combust. Wouldn’t you?

Biden FY 2023 Budget Puts War Before Human Needs

The U.S. has relied for far too long on a false equation of military might and higher military spending with security.
f35 jets flying

Our Skyrocketing Military Spending Helps Pentagon Contractors—Not Ukraine

Less than one percent of the Pentagon's new $782 billion budget is marked for Kyiv. About 50 times as much will go to for-profit corporations.
climate protesters with a sign reading Loss and Damage Finance Now!

As Climate Change Worsens, the United States Under-Delivers on Finance Promises to Hardest Hit Countries

Redirecting even a modest 10 percent of the military budget to meet urgent climate finance needs would go a long way toward paying our fair share. 

It’s Time to Divest from Systems of Harm and Build an Infrastructure of Care

Advocates need to pressure congress to invest in institutions that care about and prioritize domestic and international wellbeing, while divesting from systems of violence and harm.
Members of the National Guard help distribute food during the pandemic. Many communities have had to rely on the Guard because they lack funding for other priorities.

Our Military Budget Is More Lopsided Than Ever

Spending 12 times as much on our military as Russia didn’t prevent a war in Europe. It just deprived us of resources at home.
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