May 9, 2005- 134 Lawmakers Call for Cancellation of Nuclear Bunker Buster

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), the Co-Chair of the Nonproliferation Task Force, today released two letters signed by a total of 134 House Members calling for the immediate cancellation of the Bush Administration’s proposed nuclear bunker warhead, also known as the “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator” or RNEP.

“These letters show that Congressional opposition to the nuclear bunker buster, which Congress already disapproved last year, remains strong,” said Rep. Markey, who organized the lawmaker’s letter. In the letters sent to the House Armed Services Committee and House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, which will soon be taking up the defense spending bills for fiscal year 2006, the lawmakers noted that despite the fact that Congress zeroed funding for the Department of Energy’s nuclear bunker buster last year, the Bush Administration’s budget request had included $4 million in DOE funding to revive the program, along with another $4.5 million in Air Force funding for testing of the weapon. In addition, the budget request also indicated that another $14.7 million would be requested by DOE in fiscal year 2007.

The lawmaker’s letter urged that this request be rejected, noting that:

“The United States faces a serious national security threat from the proliferation of nuclear weapon materials and technologies, most notably in North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran. We believe that the pursuit of new nuclear weapons such as RNEP sends a dangerously mixed signal to the rest of the world and erodes our nonproliferation credibility. Nations that see the U.S. expanding and diversifying our nuclear arsenal are encouraged to seek or maintain nuclear deterrents of their own and ignore nonproliferation obligations. Additionally, a U.S. move toward expanding and diversifying our nuclear stockpile is
contrary to our legal obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which clearly requires the United States to work toward reducing our nuclear arsenal.”

Rep. Markey concluded, “Today, the UN nuclear chief estimates that North Korea may have six nuclear weapons. We are sending this letter to make it clear to this Administration that there is widespread concern in the Congress about the adverse impact of the nuclear bunker buster on America’s credibility to lead on nuclear nonproliferation with North Korea and around the world. We can’t preach nuclear temperance from a barstool, and if we’re going to ask other countries to refrain from acquiring their own nuclear weapons, we should refrain from developing new ones here at home.”

Today, Representative Markey will join Hans Blix at the United Nations Non-Proliferation Treaty (UNNPT) Review Conference in New York at 5:00 pm in Room 226.

Rep. Markey Letter to House Armed Services Committee, May 9, 2005 iss_bunkerbuster_ltr050509.pdf iss_bunkerbuster_ltr050509.pdf (329.93 KB)
Rep. Markey Letter to Appropriations Committee on Energy, Water and Development, May 9, 2005 iss_bunkerbuster2_ltr050509.pdf iss_bunkerbuster2_ltr050509.pdf (326.30 KB)

The following members signed on to the letter:
Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Rep. Gary Ackerman, Rep. Tom Allen, Rep. Robert Andrews, Rep. Brian Baird, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Shelley Berkley, Rep. Howard Berman, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Corrine Brown, Rep. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. Michael Capuano, Rep. Benjamin Cardin, Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Rep. Julia Carson, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Jim Cooper, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Elijah
Cummings, Rep. Danny Davis, Rep. Jim Davis, Rep. Susan Davis, Rep. Peter DeFazio, Rep. Diana DeGette, Rep. William Delahunt, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. Norman Dicks, Rep. John Dingell, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Anna Eshoo, Rep. Lane Evans, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Chaka Fattah, Rep. Bob Filner, Rep. Barney Frank, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Jane Harman, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, Rep. Rush Holt, Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Darlene Hooley, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. Jay Inslee, Rep. Steve Israel, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Rep. Edie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Rep. Dale Kildee, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, Rep. Ron Kind, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. James Langevin, Rep. Rick Larsen, Rep. John Larson, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Nita Lowey, Rep. Stephen Lynch, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Edward Markey, Rep. Jim Matheson, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Rep. Martin Meehan, Rep. Michael Michaud, Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, Rep. Brad Miller, Rep. George Miller, Rep. Dennis Moore, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. James Moran, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Grace Napolitano, Rep. Richard Neal, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. James Oberstar, Rep. John Olver, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Ed Pastor, Rep. Donald Payne, Rep. David Price, Rep. Steven R. Rothman, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Rep. Bobby Rush, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Martin Sabo, Rep. Linda Sanchez, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Bernard Sanders, Rep. Janice Schakowsky, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Christopher Shays, Rep. Brad Sherman, Rep. Louise Slaughter, Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Vic Snyder, Rep. Hilda Solis, Rep. John Spratt, Rep. Pete Stark, Rep. Ted Strickland, Rep. Bart Stupak, Rep. Ellen Tauscher, Rep. Mike Thompson, Rep. John Tierney, Rep. Edolphus Towns, Rep. Mark Udall, Rep. Tom Udall, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Diane Watson, Rep. Henry Waxman, Rep. Anthony Weiner, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep. David Wu and Rep. Albert Wynn

May 9, 2005
 CONTACT: Tara McGuinness