by Duyeon Kim Published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on March 18, 2011. Fukushima and the Seoul 2012 Nuclear Security Summit By Duyeon Kim | 18 March 2011 In considering the implications of Fukushima for the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, many experts in the United States would probably argue that there are […]
Last week the Senate rejected both the long-term House-passed Continuing Resolution (CR) (HR 1) and the Senate Appropriations Committee version. This week Congress will again consider a short-term CR extending spending to April 8. The text of the proposed three-week measure can be found here.
The newest proposed short-term CR continues the status quo on funding for NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation account, the Defense Department’s Cooperative Threat Reduction program, and a host of important nonproliferation programs at the State Department. These programs continue to be funded at the FY2010 level, as has been the case since the start of the fiscal year on October 1, 2010.
Looking for some numbers to focus on? How about these:
- $2.1 billion – spending level for “Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation” since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2011 that began on October 1, 2010. This is $551 million less than the Administration’s request for Fiscal Year 2011. The Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation account has been funded at or very near the FY2010 appropriated level since October 1, 2010.
- $7.0 billion. – spending level for “National Nuclear Security Administration – Weapons Activities” (Nuclear complex modernization). This is $624 million above the Fiscal Year 2010 level. Unlike the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation account, the Weapons Activities account has been funded at the FY2011 requested level since October 1, 2010.
Meanwhile, we’ve created a website with information about the current fight about the budget and proposed cuts to nuclear security spending over at the mothership. My favorite resource? A handy chart on the impact of the various short and long term CRs on NNSA’s nonpro and weapons activities accounts. Check it out.
Last Friday, Senate Democrats released a summary of their version of a Continuing Resolution for the rest of FY 2011 that would cut $51 billion from the President’s FY 2011 request compared to the $100 billion that the House cut in HR 1.
The Senate CR proposes $2.327 billion for the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation account, which is $360 million below the FY 2011 request but nearly $300 million more than HR 1. The bill summary states that this level of funding maintains U.S. efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear materials in 4 years.
I have not seen a figure for the Defense Department’s Cooperative Threat Reduction program or the State Department’s nuclear security programs. The draft Senate CR funds the Pentagon base budget at $513.6 billion and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at $157.8 billion for a total of $671.3 billion. That total is $17.3 billion less than the President’s request and $2.1 billion less than HR 1.
Also of note, the Senate CR provides $6.824 billion for NNSA’s weapons activities account, which is $185 million below the FY 2011 request but over $120 million more than HR 1.
The Senate will hold stand-alone votes on both HR 1 and the Senate Democratic alternative this week (probably tomorrow), both of which are likely to fail to achieve cloture. Negotiations will then begin on a full year CR. However the House and the Senate may not be able to reconcile their differences before the current two week CR expires on March 18, meaning there will likely be yet another short term CR to fund the government through the rest of March.
The Senate proposal for the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation account is an improvement over the House proposal, but it is still not enough. The number in the draft Senate CR is likely to be the high-water mark for NNSA’s nonproliferation budget for the next two years unless the administration and members of Congress make a strong push for the full FY2011 request.
With the government set to shutdown this Friday and the House and Senate still miles away on from reconciling their differences on spending levels for the rest of the fiscal year, the House last week proposed a short-term CR to fund the government for …
“If we are serious about reducing the possibility that fissile material could fall into terrorists’ hands, then we must reduce the amount of such material that is available.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Remarks at the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva Switzerland, February 28, 2011
Right on, Madam Secretary.
I suppose it’s safe to assume that if the White House is serious about preventing fissile material from falling into terrorists’ hands, then it’s pulling out all the stops to persuade Congress to fund critical nuclear security programs to lesson the likelihood that fissile material falls into terrorists’ hands. Right?