Cut the Nuclear Pork

 In Nuclear Weapons

By: Joe Cirincione President of Ploughshares Fund
Posted February 9, 2009 | 11:58 PM (EST)

Cut the Nuclear Pork from the Stimulus Bill Some Senators have stealthily stuffed $1 billion for nuclear weapons into the recovery bill. The only thing this will stimulate is an arms race. It must go.

The Senate bill now contains language authorizing $1 billion “for weapons activities” at the sprawling nuclear weapons complex of laboratories and factories run by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), including new construction, new projects and new computers. The House bill does not contain this funding, for good reason.

Military spending is notoriously poor at stimulating the economy. Studies show that investing in mass transit, education or state and local government projects generate far more economic activity than money spent on weapons. There are, in addition, three other major problems with using this emergency legislation for non-urgent and unnecessary nuclear weapons purposes.

First, this is a stealth increase in the nuclear weapons budget. The government currently spends at least $52 billion each year on nuclear weapons and related programs, according to a new study by the Carnegie Endowment. This is an unconscionable amount in any year, but particularly outrageous during this profound economic crisis. Of this amount, the NNSA got $9.3 billion last year. The Senate would give the agency a $1 billion bonus–free money above and beyond its normal budget. It is an 11 percent increase for weapons programs at a time when hospitals, schools and state governments are forced to slash their budgets and lay off workers.

The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability provides a complete NNSA budget breakdown on their website. They are mounting a public campaign against this give-away.

Second, this weapons increase comes without any presidential plan for the size, composition, or mission for the 5,200 nuclear weapons currently in our stockpile. We have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world–or any nation therein–many times over. But the Bush Administration planned to expand nuclear weapon production, plans that could cost $200 billion over the next two decades, according to Bill Hartung at the New America Foundation. Giving a nuclear bonus to the weapons complex now is an attempt to force start this expansion, box in President Obama, and create facts on the ground that he will find more difficult to reverse.

Finally, this is a nuclear earmark manipulated in Senate backrooms. There is not a record of who put these funds into the bill, nor any justification for why this amount and why now. The culprit, however, is suspected to be a senator who has no intention of voting for the bill. This is not transparency; this is hypocrisy. No member of Congress should be allowed to vigorously oppose the recovery bill with one hand and stuff nuclear pork into it with the other.

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Showing 7 comments
  • ilse funk

    this economic stimulus bill is for immediate need, not unecessary items.

  • C.B. Horton Jr.

    This add-on to the stimulus bill is very unnecessary. With the spiraling economic deficit, the last thing we need is more useless pork-barrel projects. Please reconsider this add-on.

  • Karl J. volk

    I think we should not get into Nuclear energy anymore we have not solved storage successfully of by products. we should definitely not make anymore bombs we should works towards the abolition of nuclear bombs

  • Karl J. volk

    We should stay away from nuclear things We have not solved the storage of toxic by products

  • Diane Loran

    A stimulus bill should be just that…….a STIMULUS to the economy. Money to finance weapons, or anything else should not be attached to it.

  • Laurens Perry

    It is greatly to be hoped that this country and this world will be winding down on nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Additional funding for nuclear activity is to be shunned as anti-life. Please do not squeeze nuclear funds into this stimulus package.

  • Heartburn Home Remedy

    After reading through the article, I just feel that I need more info. Can you share some more resources ?

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