Washington (November 19, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, filed five amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would advance President Joe Biden’s past support for a “no first use” of nuclear weapons policy, commit to nuclear diplomacy, and retire Donald Trump’s two new types of nuclear weapons capabilities. Ahead of the release of the 2021 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and the President’s fiscal year 2023 budget early next year, these amendments propose a series of smart cuts to U.S. nuclear weapons programs and a vision for a 21st century global freeze movement to reduce growing reliance on nuclear weapons.
“The United States has a moral responsibility to make the world safe from nuclear weapons,” said Senator Markey. “As Congress debates Defense Department spending, our budgets must reflect our values. It’s time to bolster climate funding, not our nuclear arsenal. President Biden should stick to his own instincts in reducing nuclear weapons risks, not follow the recklessness of the military industrial complex that was a cheerleader of the Cold War arms race and endless wars in the Middle East. By adopting these amendments, the United States can adopt a safer nuclear weapons policy that saves taxpayer money and reduces one of the existential threats to the planet.”
Senator Markey’s proposed nuclear weapon NDAA FY 2022 amendments include:
- An amendment, based on Senator Markey and Congressman Ro Khanna’s (CA-17) Investing in Cures Before Missiles (ICBM) Act that would limit funds for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent pending a certification and conclusion of an independent study by the National Academy of Sciences. The Pentagon is reportedly undertaking an independent review that will address the feasibility of extending the existing Minuteman III ICBM until 2050 or later.
- An amendment, based on Senator Markey and Congressman Ted Lieu’s (CA-33) Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act, that would restrict the use of nuclear weapons by prohibiting the President of the United States from launching a nuclear first strike absent a declaration of war by Congress.
- An amendment, based on Senator Markey and Chairman Jim McGovern’s (MA-02), Hastening Arms Limitation Talks (HALT) Act, that would establish a vision for a 21st century nuclear freeze movement. The amendment would help reduce and eliminate threats posed by nuclear weapons to the United States through a series of negotiating steps and establishing the prohibition on conducting a nuclear explosives test.
- An amendment, that requires the Departments of Defense and State to brief Congress on the 2021 NPR to ensure that there is a diverse array of civil society organizations, experts, and consultants involved in its formulation. Senator Markey, along with his fellow co-chairs of the Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group, have advocated that President Biden take a direct role in reducing the role and number of U.S. nuclear weapons.