As Trump fuels global arms race, Markey legislation would counter Trump admin. assaults on remaining global arms control architecture
New legislation prohibits obligating or expending funds to increase numbers of U.S. nuclear warheads and delivery systems above New START limits
Washington (May 2, 2019) – In an effort to preserve the last, major U.S.-Russia bilateral nuclear arms control treaty, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today introduced new legislation to preserve the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the only, remaining arms control treaty capping Russia’s most dangerous nuclear weapons. Senator Markey’s Save Arms Control and Verification Efforts (SAVE) Act calls for the United States to extend New START and would specifically prohibit any funding to increase the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal and forces above New START Treaty limits on the numbers of U.S. nuclear warheads and delivery systems through February 5, 2026 if the President does not extend or attempts to withdraw from New START. The legislation provides an exception to this limitation if Russia attempts to increase its nuclear arsenal above New START limits in a militarily significant way. The legislation also requires a National Intelligence Estimate, reports, and certifications from the President, the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of State to compel the Trump administration to provide Congress information necessary to understand the national security implications of New START lapsing. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) are co-sponsors of the legislation.
New START was signed by Russia and the United States in 2010 and entered into force in February 2011. The treaty’s duration is ten years (until 2021) and can be extended for an additional five years, to February 2026. Senator Markey has called on President Trump to extend New START for those additional five years as long as Russia continues complying with its treaty obligations.
“The New START Treaty irreplaceability comes from the transparency, stability, and accountability it brings to the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a long-time Congressional leader on nuclear arms control and nonproliferation issues. “As long as Russia continues meeting its treaty commitments, there is no logical reason why New START should not be extended. The national security benefits of New START are recognized by bipartisan political leaders, and it receives near unanimous praise from America’s military commanders. As John Bolton and the Trump administration tear away at the fabric of our nation’s arms controls agreements, the SAVE Act would prohibit President Trump from dismantling this final piece of the global nuclear arms control architecture. This legislation would prevent President Trump from igniting a new global arms race and prevent the risk of catastrophic miscalculation.”
“The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty has created stability and successfully prevented a dangerous nuclear arms race, and that’s why it is critical that President Trump works to extend this Treaty to retain limits on Russia’s nuclear arsenal,” said Senator Gillibrand. “A nuclear arms race would endanger our country and the world, and Congress has a responsibility to ensure that President Trump does not start one. Allowing this Treaty to expire could also damage our relationships with our allies and put our national security at risk. I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this bill and call on President Trump to not act recklessly with nuclear weapons.”
“First the Trump administration withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear (INF) Forces Treaty, and now they are about to let our last major arms control agreement expire,” said Senator Warren. “New START has made the United States and the world safer by reducing the chances of nuclear war, and if President Trump won’t protect it, Congress will.”
“Democrats and Republicans joined together to put our nation’s security ahead of partisan politics when we ratified New START and we must continue working together to keep it in place,” said Senator Brown. “The New START Treaty makes us safer and it would be dangerous and damaging to America’s standing as a global leader if the administration walked away from extending the Treaty.”
“Since the early 1990s when the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty negotiated by Ronald Reagan was approved by the Senate with 93 votes, Americans have known the only way to avoid destruction of life on Earth is to limit, then reduce these weapons,” said Senator Leahy. “This legislation insists on a fresh look at the timeless truth that arms control makes the world safer, healthier, more productive, and more stable.”
A copy of the SAVE Act can be found HERE.
The New START Treaty reduces the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by 74 percent from the 6,000 deployed warheads limit in the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.