Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group Co-Chairs, colleagues express concerns about the fraying of international arms control norms

Letter Text (PDF)

Washington (May 17, 2024) - Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Representatives Don Beyer (VA-08) and John Garamendi (CA-08), co-chairs of the Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group, today led their colleagues in a letter to President Joe Biden urging support for commonsense limits on the world’s two largest nuclear stockpiles, and to continue renewed efforts to restart arms control talks with the Russian Federation and other nuclear states. Early last year, Russia announced it would suspend implementation of the last remaining U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control treaty, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Since invading Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons in that conflict. Russia also has rebuffed a U.S. proposal to engage in nuclear risk reduction and arms control talks.

In the letter, the lawmakers wrote, “We write with grave concerns about the growing specter of nuclear instability and the fraying of international arms control norms. We urge your Administration to renew efforts to restart arms control talks with Russia and other nuclear states.”

The lawmakers continued, “We know that a world without effective nuclear arms control is dangerous and unstable. We must act now to guard against the further degradation of the nuclear arms control regime, prevent an unconstrained, costly global nuclear arms race that has no winners, and avoid the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine or anywhere else.”

Senators signing the letter include Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). Members of the House of Representatives signing the letter include Representatives James McGovern (MA-02), Bill Foster (IL-11), and Salud Carbajal (CA-24).

In March, Senator Markey and Representative Bill Foster (IL-11), and Senator Merkley, and Representatives Garamendi, Beyer, and McGovern, introduced a bicameral resolution condemning the Russian Federation’s suspension of its participation in the New START Treaty and supporting the value of international arms control agreements.