Photo credit: Robert Winkle

US legislators call on President Biden to reduce the role and cut the numbers of nuclear weapons

(Original article: Photo credit: Robert Winkle) US lawmakers call on President Biden to use the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review to  limit the role of nuclear weapons in US national security, reduce unnecessary nuclear weapons spending, and make tangible progress towards additional global arms control and risk reduction measures.

PNND members Carolyn Maloney, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Barbara Lee and Jim McGovern  joined 25 other members of the US House of Representatives in a letter sent last Friday (September 10) to President Biden calling on him to use the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review to set a nuclear strategy that limits the role of nuclear weapons in United States national security, reduces unnecessary spending, and sets the stage for tangible progress towards additional global arms control and risk reduction measures.

“We write today to express our grave concern that your Fiscal Year 2022 budget request for nuclear weapons does not reflect your longstanding efforts to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons,” said the lawmakers. We respectfully request that you reverse the Trump Administration’s efforts to increase spending on these costly, unnecessary, and deeply dangerous nuclear weapons. Taking these initial steps will increase the day-to-day security of the United States and our allies, set the stage for potential progress in future talks on arms control, and save billions of dollars for more pressing needs.”

The letter, which was initiated and led by Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal, notes that President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget request maintains or increases the budget for every nuclear weapons program proposed by the Trump Administration, including funding weapons that the Obama Administration opposed or sought to retire. 

This budget invests an estimated $634 billion over 10 years to rebuild every delivery vehicle, every weapon, and every warhead in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

‚The US and all other nuclear-armed states, should be reducing nuclear weapons budgets and phasing out the roles of nuclear weapons in security doctrines,“ said Alyn Ware, PNND Global Coordinator and co-founder of the Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign. „The COVID pandemic, if anything, has demonstrated that genuine security requires global cooperation, investment in public health and an end to armed conflicts and the reliance on nuclear force in international relations.“

“President Biden’s early move to engage in direct diplomacy with Russia demonstrated that he understands the unparalleled danger that nuclear war represents to the world. Biden and Putin’s renewed support for the Reagan-Gorbachev pledge that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’ is an important step in the right direction,” said Erik Sperling, Executive Director of Just Foreign Policy. “Now it’s time for President Biden to put his words into action. He should listen to this diverse group of sensible voices from his own party and reverse Trump’s dangerous and wasteful nuclear build-up.”

Letter complements the ICBM (Invest in Cures Before Missiles) Act

The US House letter complements the ICBM (Invest in Cures Before Missiles) Act which was introduced into the US Congress in April this year by PNND Co-President Senator Markey and Representative Khanna.

Both initiatives call for cancellation of the of the Pentagon’s new $93-96 billion ground-based strategic deterrent, which is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program. The ICBM Act calls for the re-direction of these funds towards development of a universal coronavirus vaccine and the battle against other types of biothreats.“The United States should invest in a vaccine of mass prevention before another new land-based weapon of mass destruction,” said Senator Markey on introducing the ICBM Act. “The ICBM Act makes clear that we can begin to phase out the Cold War nuclear posture that risks accidental nuclear war while still deterring adversaries and assuring allies, and redirect those savings to the clear and present dangers posed by coronaviruses and other emerging and infectious diseases.“„The devastation sown by COVID-19 would pale in comparison to that of even a limited nuclear war. The ICBM Act signals that we intend to make the world safe from nuclear weapons and prioritize spending that saves lives, rather than ends them.”

Senate letter on the Nuclear Posture Review

The letter led by Rep Jayapal also complements a similar letter from the Senate led by Senator Markey and colleagues, sent to President Biden in July. In this letter, the senators make a number of specific proposals for reducing the role of nuclear weapons, including the adoption by the United States of a no-first-use policy. For more information see:

 For more information see Jayapal Leads House Lawmakers in Urging Biden to Reduce the Role of Nuclear Weapons and PNND Co-President introduces ‚Invest in Cures Before Missiles‘ (ICBM) Act