Markey and Merkley Introduce Legislation to Cut Bloated Nuclear Weapons Budget

 

Would cut $100 billion over next ten years from outdated nuclear weapons programs

 

Washington (February 28, 2014) – As Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel proposes deep cuts to the Department of Defense budget, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) today introduced the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act, legislation that will cut $100 billion over the next decade from the bloated nuclear weapons budget. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced H.R. 4107, the Reduce Expenditures in Nuclear Investments Now (REIN-IN) Act in the House of Representatives. 

 

“America faces a real choice: spend billions on nuclear weapons we no longer need or fund programs that educate our children and help find cures to deadly diseases. The security of our nation’s future will be ensured by investing in education not nuclear annihilation,” said Senator Markey. “We need to stop pouring billions into the nuclear weapons programs of the past and instead prioritize our nation’s pressing needs. The SANE Act will cut spending on outdated, wasteful nuclear weapons and related programs over the next ten years and will strengthen our long-term economic and national security.”

 

Specifically, the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act will:

 

• Reduce deployed strategic submarines from 14 to 8 and reduce the purchase of replacement submarines from 12 to 8 – saving $16 billion.
• Cut warhead life extension programs and defer the development of new ICBMs – saving $15 billion.
• Remove the nuclear mission from F-35s and delay the new long range bomber – saving over $32 billion.
• Cancel nuclear weapon making facilities and missile defense programs – saving $37 billion.

 

“We cannot afford these weapon systems and we don’t need them,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “They are dangerous and costly to store and maintain.  As we’ve seen in recent stories, the human beings who control them can be unreliable. We can make the world, and our country, safer by reducing spending on these programs that we haven’t used in 69 years and are better suited for the Cold War than the strategic challenges we face today.”

 

A copy of the SANE Act can be found HERE.

 

“The Arms Control Association applauds Senator Markey for introducing the SANE Act, which would help bring the U.S. nuclear weapons budget in line with fiscal and national security realities,” said Darryl Kimball, Director, Arms Control Association. “The SANE Act's proposed reductions in U.S. spending on strategic submarines, long-range bombers, land- based missiles, and the warheads they carry are pragmatic and realistic. High costs, combined with shrinking budgets and missions, should compel the Pentagon to rethink its plans to rebuild U.S. nuclear forces in the years ahead.”  

 

“POGO is enthusiastic that so many smart recommendations are included in this bill. We hope there will be bipartisan support for aspects of the proposal, since these ideas are not partisan and represent an excellent way to save money and make the United States safer and stronger for generations to come,” said Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project On Government Oversight (POGO). “We thank Senator Markey and the other cosponsors for their leadership on this critical issue.”

 

“Women’s Action for New Directions proudly supports Senator Markey’s introduction of the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act of 2014,” said Susan Shaer, Executive Director, Women’s Action for New Directions. “The legislation recognizes that the current unwieldy plans for U.S. nuclear weapons don’t match budgetary realities or security needs. SANE would prepare us for a 21st century strategy, where nuclear weapons are less and less relevant. In so doing, it allows us to focus on other priorities, such as unmet human and environmental needs.”

 

“We are well past the time when the United States needs to stop pouring billions of additional dollars into maintaining the existing nuclear weapons arsenal that is immoral, that the U.S. doesn't need and that is not making our country safer,” said David Culp, Legislative Representative, Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers).

 

The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures Act is endorsed by: Alliance of Baptists on the Interfaith Committee on Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control Association, Church of the Brethren, Citizens for Global Solutions, Colorado Coalition for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Cumberland Countians for Peace & Justice, DC Statehood Green Party, Franciscan Action Network, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Georgia WAND, Global Green USA, Global Security Institute and Bipartisan Security Group, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, National Council of Churches of Christ, USA, Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility of United Church of Christ, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Ploughshares Fund, Project on Government Oversight (POGO), Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Tri-Valley CAREs, Women's Action for New Directions.