Senator Markey Votes Against Funding for New, So-Called “Low-Yield” Nuclear Weapon
Senator previously filed amendment to block funding for development of new nuclear bomb and redirect funds to help denuclearize North Korea
Washington (September 12, 2018) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) voted against funding to develop a new, so-called “low-yield” nuclear weapon. Funding for the W76-2 nuclear bomb was included in the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act 2019, which passed the Senate today.
The United States already has hundreds of low-yield nuclear weapons. The federal government is slated to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrade these systems, as well as to develop a new stealth bomber and fighter aircraft to deliver them as part of the existing nuclear modernization program. There are no documents, reports, or studies justifying the previously unrecognized need for a new low yield weapon as part of America’s nuclear deterrent, and it is dangerously indistinguishable from U.S. strategic nuclear weapons.
“I thank Senate leadership and the Appropriations Committee for their work on this legislation and their bipartisan commitment to keep the most controversial policy language out of these pieces of legislation,” said Senator Markey. “But the bill still includes one deeply misguided priority by funding an unnecessary, destabilizing, and thoroughly under-explained expansion of America’s nuclear arsenal with this low-yield weapon.
“There is no such thing as a zero-calorie chocolate fudge sundae, and there is no such thing as a low-yield nuclear bomb. A nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon, and the United States doesn’t need a new one. It is the height of fiscal and political folly to spend more money to develop a low yield nuclear weapon dangerously indistinguishable from a strategic one, especially when our military doesn’t need it. We are making America and the world less safe, not more. and we could spark a new nuclear arms race with this ill-advised effort. When we fund these radioactive rackets, we throw away decades of American leadership trying to move the world away from nuclear weapons and the existential threat they pose to all of us.”
In May, Senator Markey sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee urging it to scrutinize the cost of developing a low yield warhead for the submarine-launched ballistic missile as it develops its fiscal year 2019 budget.