Douglas P. Guarino
December 12, 2013
A new defense conference bill includes limits on nuclear arms control efforts, but the restrictions are not as prohibitive as some House Republicans wanted.
As originally approved by the House in June, the defense authorization bill for fiscal 2014 would have placed several conditions on the Obama administration’s ability to comply with the 2011 New START pact with Russia. The House legislation also would have restricted the administration’s ability to pursue additional arms reductions efforts not already covered by existing agreements.
For example, the lower chamber’s original bill would have prevented the administration from reducing the number of nuclear-capable U.S. aircraft in Europe unless NATO allies approved the move and the Russian military carried out similar reductions to its forces.
In a June veto threat, the White House said such a provision “would limit the President’s authority to determine appropriate force structure to meet nuclear deterrence requirements and to set nuclear employment policy — authority exercised by every president in the nuclear age.”
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