Congress Can and Should Restrict the First Use of Nuclear Weapons

 In Congress, Nuclear Weapons, Trump Administration

Washington, D.C. — January 29, 2018 — In response to Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) re-introducing the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act (H.R. 669 / S. 200), legislation to prevent the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a congressional declaration of war, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, released the following statement:

“The command and control structure of our nation’s nuclear weapons represents a massive security liability. No rational person would ever say, ‘let’s take the most destructive force known to humanity and give one person the authority to unleash it on the world at a moment’s notice,’ but unfortunately that is the current U.S. policy. Thankfully, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Ted Lieu have authored common-sense legislation to prevent this president, and future presidents, from starting a nuclear war without congressional approval.

“Under the Trump administration, the threat of nuclear war has grown. Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review, the new nuclear weapons it calls for, and the new circumstances it lists in which the U.S. might use nuclear weapons are central to this growing threat. Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement despite Iran’s verifiable compliance with the accord dealt a devastating blow to U.S. credibility in current and future nuclear negotiations. The administration’s impending withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, reflecting its preference for brinkmanship over diplomacy, threatens to revive a whole class of particularly destabilizing nuclear weapons. As the administration’s calamitous cocktail of ill-conceived nuclear policies brings us closer to the brink, Congress must pursue every option for stepping us back from that brink. Removing the president’s authority to launch a nuclear war without Congress is a simple and effective means of reducing the nuclear threat.”

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Click here for a video of the press conference announcing the re-introduction of the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act.

Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to international conflicts. The public may learn more and take action at www.PeaceAction.org.

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