Senator Markey, and Reps. Lieu, Smith, Blumenauer, and Garamendi Introduce Bicameral Bill Banning Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons

Washington (September 18, 2018) - Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Reps. Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), House Armed Services Ranking Member Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), John Garamendi (CA-03), and Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) introduced the bicameral Hold the LYNE—or Low-Yield Nuclear Explosive—Act. The legislation would prohibit the research, development, production and deployment of a low-yield nuclear warheads for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. So-called low-yield nuclear weapons have the potential to lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons and increase the risk of entering the U.S. into nuclear war.

 

“Developing a ‘low-yield’ nuclear warhead for America’s ballistic missile submarine fleet is the height of fiscal and political folly,” said Senator Markey. “There is no military requirement for this weapon. Its indistinguishability from any other submarine-launched nuclear weapon risks a miscalculation. Its development is just a further example of how the Trump administration is surrendering decades of American leadership that have helped move the world away from the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. A nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon, and the Trump administration’s attempt to market a new one is ill-advised and dangerous.”

 

A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.

 

“There’s no such thing as a low-yield nuclear war,” said Rep. Lieu said. “Use of any nuclear weapon, regardless of its killing power, could be catastrophically destabilizing. It opens the door for severe miscalculation and could drag the U.S. and our allies into a devastating nuclear conflict. That’s why Reps. Smith, Garamendi and Blumenauer, and Sen. Markey in the Senate, introduced the Hold the LYNE Act, to ensure we won’t lower our standards for launching a nuclear weapon.”

 

“We should not fund President Trump’s request for new low-yield nuclear weapons,” said Rep. Smith. “His proposal dangerously lowers the threshold to nuclear use and siphons money away from genuine military readiness needs. We already have a nuclear deterrent that is more than adequate to achieve our national security goals. Funding new, low-yield weapons would only draw us further into an unnecessary nuclear arms race and increase the risks of miscalculation.”

 

“Despite their misleading name, so-called ‘low-yield’ nuclear weapons are highly destabilizing and increase the likelihood of nuclear war,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “We should abandon our focus on outdated Cold War tactics and focus on the strategic challenges we face today, including accounting for the irresponsible spending on weapons we can’t afford to build and the world can’t afford for us to use.”

 

“I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this critical piece of legislation,” said Rep. Garamendi. “My previous efforts to prohibit the authorization and funding to develop a low-yield nuclear warhead for the Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile were narrowly defeated. These unnecessary warheads will increase the risk of nuclear war and further fuel a dangerous arms race. Furthermore, we’re already on track to spend over $1.2 trillion over the next thirty years to modernize and maintain our current nuclear arsenal, and that figure does not take into account these new weapons. Both I and my colleagues remain concerned about the direction our nuclear forces are headed, which is why we have joined efforts in introducing this important bill.”

 

 

The LYNE Act is endorsed by: Arms Control Association, Global Zero, Union of Concerned Scientists, Ploughshares, Win Without War, Peace Action, Council for a Livable World, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Beyond the Bomb, Tri-Valley CARES, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, Women’s Action for New Directions, Lawyers Committee for Nuclear Policy, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Beyond Nuclear, Rocky Flats Right to Know, The Peace Farm, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Middle East and Disarmament Committees), Nuclear Watch South, Our Developing World, Southwest Research and Information Center, and Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.

 

In January 2017, Rep. Lieu and Sen. Markey re-introduced H.R. 669 and S. 200, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act. First introduced in the 114th Congress, this legislation would prohibit the President from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. H.R. 669 currently has 82 co-sponsors in the House.

 

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