Bill Text (PDF)

Washington (May 19, 2023) – As world leaders convene in Hiroshima for the 2023 G7 summit, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), co-chair of the Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group, and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) today reintroduced the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act to roll back U.S. nuclear weapons programs over the next decade by eliminating redundant nuclear programs and heeding the Government Accountability Office’s recommendation to prioritize cost-saving measures, cancelling tens of billions of dollars in reckless nuclear spending. Modernizing and maintaining current nuclear warheads and infrastructure is estimated to cost $1.7 trillion through Fiscal Year 2046, while the Congressional Budget Office anticipates that current nuclear modernization would cost $494 billion through Fiscal Year 2028. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is a cosponsor.

“Putin’s war in Ukraine has brought us dangerously close to a nuclear catastrophe. If we want to advance our national security and realize a future free from the threat of nuclear weapons, then we need to lead by example by putting an end to explosive and unnecessary spending in our nuclear programs,” said Senator Markey. “As House Republicans threaten to cut critical spending for low-income children, seniors, and veterans as part of debt ceiling talks, it’s unconscionable that we would waste trillions of taxpayer dollars on deadly weapons of mass destruction that should never see the light of day. As the sole nation to ever use nuclear weapons in wartime, the United States has a moral responsibility to practice what we preach. As world leaders meet in Hiroshima, let’s stop spending money on nuclear weapons we don’t need.”

“At a time when Republicans want to cut funding for veterans, families, and education, we should not be investing trillions of dollars on an outdated and irresponsible nuclear arsenal,” said Representative Blumenauer. “These disastrous weapons will never be the answer to solving our complex and ever-changing national security threats. We can save money and support global security by rationalizing our spending on nuclear weapons.”

A copy of the SANE Act can be found HERE.

Specifically, the SANE Act would:

  1. Cap the number of nuclear-armed submarines at eight Columbia-class submarines;
  2. Reduce the number of land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to 150;
  3. Limit the number of deployed strategic warheads to 1,000;
  4. Limit the number of B-21 bomber aircraft to 80;
  5. Prohibit the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft from carrying nuclear weapons;
  6. Prohibit any new air-launched cruise missile system, including the Long-Range Stand-Off (LRSO) weapon and associated W80 warhead life extension program;
  7. Cancel the new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system, the LGM-35 Sentinel;
  8. Ban deployment of any low-yield or non-strategic nuclear warhead;
  9. Cancel the sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM-N), which President Biden’s Nuclear Posture Review found “no longer necessary;”
  10. Suspend funding for plutonium pit production unless and until good governance and budgeting practices are observed;
  11. Ban destabilizing space-based missile defense systems; and
  12. Retire the B83-1 bomb.

The SANE Act is endorsed by the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Ploughshares Fund, the Council for a Livable World, and Massachusetts Peace Action.

“The Arms Control Association supports the proposals outlined in the SANE Act as an important basis for serious and fundamental Congressional debate about how to deal with the increasingly expensive and excessive U.S. nuclear modernization program,” said Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association.

“The United States nuclear arsenal is a danger to the entire human race and to our own citizens. We should cut our deployed missiles and submarines and reverse the dangerous expansion of our nuclear forces that are now underway. We urgently need funds to rebuild our public health system, assist our people economically and fight climate change – not new nuclear weapons,” said Cole Harrison, Executive Director of Massachusetts Peace Action.

This month, Senator Markey and Representative Jim McGovern (MA-02) reintroduced the Hastening Arms Limitation Talks (HALT) Act, legislation that would establish a 21st century freeze on the testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons. Last month, Senator Markey and Representatives Ted Lieu (CA-36), Don Beyer (VA-08) and Ken Buck (CO-04) introduced the Block Nuclear Launch by Autonomous Artificial Intelligence Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation to prevent artificial intelligence (AI) from launching a nuclear weapon. In the same month, the Senator Markey and Representative Lieu reintroduced the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act to prohibit any U.S. President from launching a nuclear strike without prior authorization from Congress. Last October, Senator Markey filed eight amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to reduce the risk of “nuclear Armageddon” and stop the proliferation of nuclear weapon amid fear of Russian nuclear recklessness.