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Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

Lawmakers urge Biden to reduce role of nuclear weapons

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and other Congress members urged President Joe Biden to limit the role of nuclear weapons in the country’s national security.

In a letter to the President, the group pointed to Biden’s longstanding commitment to reducing the role of nuclear weapons, and asked that he use the Nuclear Posture review to outline a nuclear strategy that limits their role, reduces unnecessary nuclear spending and sets the stage for progress on global arms control and risk reduction measures.

“We write today to express our grave concern that your Fiscal Year 2022 budget request for nuclear weapons does not reflect your longstanding efforts to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons,” the lawmakers wrote. “We respectfully request that you reverse the Trump Administration’s efforts to increase spending on these costly, unnecessary, and deeply dangerous nuclear weapons. Taking these initial steps to slow the development of new nuclear weapons will increase the day-to-day security of the United States and our allies, set the stage for potential progress in future talks on arms control, and save billions of dollars for more pressing needs.”

The group said Biden has long said the U.S. should decrease the likelihood of nuclear war, should reduce nuclear weapons’ roles in U.S. security policy, and should oppose the development of new nuclear weapons. But, the Fiscal Year 2022 budget request, the group said, does not reflect those beliefs, as it maintains or increases the budget for every nuclear weapon program proposed by the Trump Administration.

The budget would invest an estimated $634 billion over 10 years to rebuild every delivery vehicle, every weapon and every warhead in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It also includes tripling funding for the megaton-class B83 gravity bomb, and spending $134 million for a new high-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead. The budget request also include $2.5 billion for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GSBD) and $29 billion for a Long-Range Standoff Weapon.

The legislation is supported by a multitude of local, national and international organizations including the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (USA); the Center for International Policy; Council for a Livable World; Physicians for Social Responsibility; the Union of Concerned Scientists; and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom US.

“The world is on a dangerous path and, at least when it comes to nuclear weapons issues, the Biden administration is adding fuel to the fire,” Stephen Young, the senior Washington representative and acting director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said. “This letter from dozens of House members makes a number of sensible suggestions the Biden team can adopt that will slow the nuclear arms race. UCS is happy to support all its recommendations.”