As feared, the GOP-controlled House introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) on Friday to fund the federal government for the last seven months of the year that erases (and then some) the critical increases in NNSA’s FY 2011 budget request for threat reduction and nonproliferation programs. The CR actually reduces funding for NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation account below FY 2010 appropriations, which were already far too low to achieve NNSA’s nuclear security goals.
Defense Nuclear NonproliferationEven NNSA’s weapons activities account was not exempt from cuts.
Aware of the writing on the wall, House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Pete Visclosky (D-IN) reminded his colleagues of what’s at stake earlier this week:
I’d remind my colleagues that almost half of the monies that flow through the Energy and Water Subcommittee are defense-related. A lot of that is our nuclear programs, as well as nonproliferation. We went to war in 2003 because it asserted Saddam Hussein had materials of weapons of mass destruction.
It would be so much better for the world and our country, and so much more cost-effective, if we made an investment up front on nonproliferation so we did not face those types of draconian decisions in the future and do hope in all of our subcommittees in this committee, we do recognize we have to make that investment and we make wise choices as we do make cuts.
We’ll have more to say about this in the coming days and weeks as the CR moves through the House floor and ultimately to the Senate.
It’s now up to Senate Democrats and Republicans, primed by a strong, strong push from the administration, to ensure that the effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years doesn’t get derailed.