As some of you may already know, on Thursday the Center’s sister organization Council for a Livable World launched a national ad campaign targeting six Republican leaders in the House and Senate to highlight their support for reckless cuts to vital nuclear security programs that keep our nation safe from the threat of nuclear terrorism. The current stopgap Continuing Resolution that is currently funding the government cuts approximately $550 million from the President’s FY 2011 request for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Account. The year long CR proposed by House Republicans in February would cut funding for this account by nearly $650 million below the FY 2011 request.
In response to the ad that ran in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“Washington can cut spending without compromising our national defense, and the continuing resolution simply prevents further spending increases from taking hold. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned last year: ‘I think the biggest threat we have to our national security is our debt.’ As we act to get our fiscal house in order, it is critical that we prioritize spending and address our nation’s most pressing fiscal, economic, and security challenges.”
Ryan’s claim that the cuts to nuclear security programs do not compromise our national defense is demonstrably false. If Ryan gets his way, hundreds of kilograms of dangerous nuclear weapons usable material would remain unsecure. Ryan simply dodges the fact that vital programs within the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Account counter the most serious threat confronting our national security; namely, the threat of nuclear terrorism.
But don’t take NoH’s word for it.
A day after Ryan insisted that he’s protecting national security by cutting the nuclear security budget, Republicans and Democrats on the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee issued a strong rebuke to the new Budget Committee Chairman.
In a March 23 letter to Ryan spearheaded by Subcommittee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH), 9 Republicans and 7 Democrats expressed their “deep concern about the effects H.R. 1 will have on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 and possibly FY 2012 funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).” These budget cuts can’t be sustained, the letter concludes, “without jeopardizing nonproliferation efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism.”
The message the Subcommittee is sending to Ryan is clear: Short changing the budget for vital nuclear security programs makes America less safe.