Feinstein will try to zero out warhead funding

 In Accomplishments, Nuclear Weapons

Congressional Quarterly (subscription only) is reporting that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) will try to zero out funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead program, a dangerous and unnecessary new weapon being proposed by the Bush administration:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a longtime opponent of the new program, said she is leaning toward avoiding a fight over the funding on the Senate floor. She prefers instead to fight for the House version of the bill behind closed doors.

“Rather than risk losing on the floor . . . it seems to me that it’s better to do it in conference,” Feinstein said.

Feinstein and other Democrats oppose the funding because it would move the program to stage 3, the engineering stage, before completing stage 2A, which is confined to design, definition and cost study.

“It’s putting the cart before the horse,” she said.

So far this year, we have made great progress toward eliminating the RRW program.  The House Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee cut all of the funding for the RRW, while the Senate subcommittee left $66 million for research.  Since the beginning of 2007, Peace Action West has  met with Sen. Feinstein’s staff in California and Washington, D.C., and generated over 300 letters and more than 1300 e-mails asking her to take leadership on this issue.  She has turned into a strong ally on stopping the RRW in its tracks.  The next step is reconciling the two versions of the Energy budget, and it is encouraging to know that Sen. Feinstein will be advocating for a complete funding cut.

While the conference committee action occurs behind closed doors, you can still help influence the debate by building opposition to the program in the Senate.  Click here to write to your senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 1914, Sen. Feinstein’s bill to cut funding for RRW until at least 2010 and have a Nuclear Posture Review to reevaluate the role of nuclear weapons in US security strategy.

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