45 Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. House are calling on Congressional leadership in both chambers to cut $100 billion from a "bloated nuclear weapons budget" as part of the ongoing so-called "fiscal cliff" negotiations.
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a press release citing the letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) and Senators Harry Reid (D) and Mitch McConell (R) charging that "Our oversized nuclear weapons arsenal fails to reflect historic reality" and that "Our spending on radioactive relics of the past requires a reality check" after the successful conclusion of the Cold War.
The 45 House Dems list unnecessary current expenditures for "refurbishing a nuclear bomb that no one wants…a Uranium processing facility we do not need…a nuclear bomber when the ones we have will last for decades."
The letter, (posted in full below) implores leadership:
Cut Minuteman missiles. Do not cut Medicare and Medicaid. Cut nuclear-armed B-52 and B-2 bombers. Do not cut Social Security. Invest in the research and education that will drive our future prosperity, not in weapons for a war we already won.
While the letter from the largely progressive Congressional members appears to be a rational step in the right direction, it raises additional questions. Among them: (1) Given that two nations, the U.S. and Russia, possess 95% of the world’s nuclear arsenals, and given that each nation’s individual arsenal is capable of destroying all life on the planet many times over, does it make sense to simply trim only $100 billion from an estimated $640 billion in nuclear weapons expenditures scheduled over the next ten years? (2) Why not couple the immediate request to trim $100 billion from the nuclear weapons budget with a call for a joint resolution of Congress calling upon the President to initiate negotiations under the auspices of the U.N. for a multilateral Treaty that would entail the eventual dismantling of all nuclear arsenals?...
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