BICAMERAL APPROPRIATORS COME TOGETHER TO CALL FOR COMMON SENSE REDUCTION TO BLOATED NUCLEAR ARSENAL TO SAVE TAXPAYER DOLLARS
Washington DC – November 15, 2013– Press Release – At a briefing hosted by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL) made statements regarding reducing the bloated U.S. nuclear arsenal in a manner that will save taxpayers billions.
Sen. Feinstein began her remarks by stating what hundreds of U.S. military leaders have said for a generation: “I agree with our nation’s military leaders—the U.S. has too many nuclear weapons and more can be done to reduce the size of our nuclear arsenal….[it] remains unclear is how these weapons will help solve 21st century national security threats such as terrorism, cyber attacks or global warming.”
Rep. Quigley also argued the limited military utility of nuclear weapons: “We must work to build a military that is built for today and for tomorrow, not for the 1960s.”
Both Members argued that extravagant expenses for nuclear weapons means resources are not used elsewhere in today’s tight fiscal environment.
Rep. Quigley cited the immense pressure nuclear weapons place on the U.S. budget: “A dollar spent on our outdated nuclear arsenal is a dollar not spent putting cops on the street in Chicago, or building much needed infrastructure in our communities.” Rep. Quigley continued: “It is important to have a frank conversation on these weapons. Now more so than ever, we cannot afford this. The fact that we can’t afford these weapons is an important point as we look to make headway here on Capitol Hill.”
Sen. Feinstein specifically cited the B61 life extension program as overly costly, unnecessary and overly ambitious. “My most immediate concern is with the life extension of the B61 gravity bomb,” said Sen. Feinstein. “I am concerned the B61 life-extension program is unaffordable at $10 billion and a more narrow scope of work would safely extend its life while meeting military requirements.”
Rep. Quigley had offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to remove the additional $23.7 million dollar authorization to the program above the Administration’s budget request that was defeated by twenty-two votes. Sen. Feinstein’s appropriations subcommittee cut $168 million from the program and the Defense Appropriations’ subcommittee nearly zeroed out the Pentagon’s contribution to the program.
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington-based non-profit think tank working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons stockpiled across the globe, increase international nonproliferation programs targeted at preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism, redirect U.S. military spending to address 21st century security threats and halt the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. www.armscontrolcenter.org
WAND is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women to act politically to reduce violence and militarism, and redirect excessive military resources toward unmet human and environmental needs. WAND was founded in 1982, and consists of a 501-C3 WAND Education Fund, a 501-C4 WAND Inc. Action Center for members and chapters, WAND Political Action Committee, and the Women Legislator’s Lobby (WiLL) program. WAND is a recognized United Nations NGO. For more information, please visit www.wand.org.