Oct. 13, 2011: Markey: Republicans Would Rather Fund Nuclear Bombs Than Fund A Cure For Cancer

Rep. Turner Confuses Cutting Unneeded Nuclear Weapons With Disarmament
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, released the following statement in response to Rep. Mike Turner’s (R-Ohio) mistaken assertion that cutting the nuclear weapons budget would compromise America’s national security.
The presumption that we cannot maintain an effective nuclear deterrent force and save money at the same time is irrational.
“Today, just one of America’s 14 submarines is deployed with 96 nuclear warheads, enough nuclear firepower to destroy all of Iran’s, Russia’s and China’s largest cities. Current U.S. nuclear weapons policy is the epitome of overkill.
“Cutting $200 billion over the next decade from our nuclear weapons budget will cut wasteful programs that America no longer needs and cannot afford. But apparently House Republicans have adopted a ‘no dough unless it glows’ strategy for federal spending. Instead of downsizing, America must ‘right size’ its nuclear delivery systems, including reducing our submarine fleet from 14 to 8, saving $27 billion over the next decade. The New START Treaty already is going to reduce America’s level of deployed strategic warheads to 1,550. Less weapons should equal less funding, but the Pentagon has failed to begin making the cuts needed to adapt to our 21st century security needs.
“And the G.O.P. is gambling with the real security threats we face here at home. Millions of seniors are concerned about the Republican effort to end Medicare and Medicaid as we know it. Millions of Baby Boomers will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's, costing Medicare $800 billion annually by 2050, while Republicans gut the National Institutes of Health budget. And millions of American families will be at risk of going without heat this winter as the G.O.P. eviscerates funding for home heating oil. Instead of families freezing this winter, we should freeze funding for our nation’s bloated nuclear arsenal.
“It is time for Republicans to stop hiding behind the radioactive relics of the Cold War and join middle class American families in fighting for our nation’s economic future. I think the public understands that the risk of being killed by cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or a stroke is much higher than the risk of being killed in a nuclear war.  Our budget needs to properly reflect those risks and those priorities, now that we are more than 20 years into the post-Cold War era
This week, Rep. Markey and 64 House members sent a letter to the Super Committee calling on the group to cut $200 billion from the nuclear weapons budget over the next decade before targeting programs for seniors, middle-class families and the most vulnerable. Congressman Markey’s call to the Super Committee is supported by more than 45 organizations and individuals.