No one person should have unchecked power to end millions of lives instantaneously with nuclear weapons
Washington (January 19, 2021) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Ted W. Lieu (CA-33) announced their intention to introduce the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2021. First introduced in 2016, this legislation prohibits the President of the United States from launching a nuclear first strike absent a declaration of war by Congress. The bill comes following concerns expressed by Members of Congress, including Senator Markey, that President Trump may attempt to exert unconstitutional authority to launch the United States into an illegal war or even order the use of nuclear weapons. The bill will assert the proper war powers of Congress by creating safeguards against any President from being the first to introduce nuclear weapons into a conflict.
“The violent insurrection at the Capitol made President Trump’s unfitness undeniable. We cannot continue to give one person the awesome power to end life on our planet as we know it with nuclear weapons,” said Senator Markey. “Our Constitution affords Congress, not the President, the exclusive power to declare war and that extends, clearly, to the most catastrophic type of war, nuclear war. No Commander-in-Chief should be able to act alone to start a nuclear war. Congressman Lieu and I will continue to push for this change in policy, no matter who is in the White House.” 
“On January 6, Donald Trump incited a violent mob to attack the U.S. Capitol, resulting in multiple deaths. This incident has been a sobering reminder of just how much power the President currently wields,” said Rep. Lieu. “It’s clearer than ever that we cannot continue to give one person the ability to launch a massive, potentially civilization-ending nuclear first strike without authorization from Congress. Senator Markey and I first introduced this legislation when the President was Barack Obama. I look forward to continuing my work with Senator Markey on pushing this legislation to prevent the President – regardless of political party – from launching a nuclear first-strike.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
Support for the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2021:

“It is now clear that giving one person the godlike power to deliver instant global destruction is undemocratic, unnecessary and extremely dangerous. But this danger will not go away with President Trump. It is now up to Congress and the incoming Biden administration to ensure that we never again entrust the first use of nuclear weapons to just one fallible human. Thank you Senator Markey and Congressman Lieu for your leadership” William James Perry, 19th Secretary of Defense (1994-1997)


“It no longer makes sense, if it ever did, to put the fate of the world in the hands of one person. It is time to end the policy of sole authority. President-elect Biden and Congress must now enact effective checks on presidential authority, such as requiring the president to share that power with Congress. This important legislation being offered by Sen. Markey and Rep. Lieu would do just that,” – Tom Collina, Policy Director, Ploughshares Fund
“No president should have the sole authority to launch a nuclear weapon. Right now, there are no safeguards that could prevent President Trump from ordering a nuclear strike if he is determined to do so - he can simply give the order. For too long, we’ve relied on the emotional stability of a president to save us from nuclear catastrophe. President Trump’s actions over the last four years, and in particular this past week, make it all the more urgent, but the truth is these changes are long overdue,” said Andrew Albertson, Executive Director of Foreign Policy for America. “FP4A thanks Senator Markey and Representative Lieu for introducing this important legislation that takes the unilateral control of the U.S. nuclear arsenal out of the president’s hands.” – Andrew Albertson, Executive Director, Foreign Policy for America
“No one person – no president – should have the sole, unchecked, authority to start a nuclear attack. The dangerousness of President Donald Trump only highlights this fact. He has been removed from every mainstream social media platform because of his threat to national security, but he still has access to the nuclear codes and the unchecked authority to order a launch. While Trump will be out of office soon, this crisis moment shows why we must reform our nuclear launch decision-making procedures. Senator Markey and Representative Lieu’s bill provides a clear way forward.” – Former Congressman John Tierney, Executive Director, Council for a Livable World
“The Union of Concerned Scientists strongly supports this vital effort to limit any president’s unchecked authority to start a nuclear war. This nation does not need to threaten others with a nuclear first strike in order to keep its people protected. This legislation will reduce the likelihood of nuclear war, and that alone should be enough reason for every member to support it.” – Stephen Young, Senior Washington Representative and Acting Co-Director, Union of Concerned Scientists
"The Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2021 would move us away from the nuclear precipice, where one person's misjudgment could kill millions almost instantly.” – Diana Ohlbaum, Friends Committee on National Legislation
“The dangerous and racist behavior of President Trump shows the need for checks and balances especially on nuclear weapons where any president can launch 15,000 Hiroshimas within minutes. Once again, Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Ted Lieu lead the way with pragmatic legislation that will give Congress, as the Constitution dictates, the sober responsibility to declare nuclear war.  With the Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons about to enter into force, the U.S. needs to take steps towards eliminating these horrific weapons.” – Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs, Peace Action.
“Beyond the Bomb is thankful for the steadfast leadership of Senator Markey and Representative Lieu to democratize our nuclear system. As it stands, our system is broken and adding checks and balances is an important step on the path towards policies that further decrease our chances of ever using a nuclear weapon, such as No First Use. A nuclear monarchy stands to benefit no one.” – Cecili Thompson Williams, Executive Director, Beyond the Bomb
“The question is simple: should the person who incited a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the legitimate results of our election be trusted with the power to end life on earth as we know it? We say no. Neither Donald Trump, nor any future president, should be able to unilaterally start a nuclear war. This bill is a critical step toward ensuring just that.” —Erica Fein, Advocacy Director, Win Without War
“Physicians for Social Responsibility supports the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2021, introduced by Senator Markey and Representative Lieu. If enacted, this legislation would reduce the risk of a humanitarian catastrophe triggered by nuclear war.” – Jeff Carter, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility