Nuclear Disarmament

Additional Information on the Federal Legislative Agenda, 116th Congress (2019-2020)

Nuclear Disarmament

No First Use Policy – YES

H.R.921 is sponsored by Representative Smith of Washington and S.272 is sponsored by Senator Warren of Massachusetts. This act would instate a ‘no first use’ policy for the United States in regard to nuclear weapons. 

Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act – YES

Representative Lieu of California is sponsoring R.669 while Senator Markey of Massachusetts is sponsoring S.200. S.200 is also cosponsored by Senator Warren. This legislation would prohibit the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a congressional declaration of war. Here is a press release about these two bills. 

Hold the Low-Yield Nuclear Explosives (LYNE) Act – YES

H.R.1086 is sponsored by Representative Lieu of California and Senator Markey is the sponsor of S.401 while Senator Warren cosponsors S.401. This legislation would prohibit the research and development, production, and deployment of the Trident D5 low-yield nuclear warhead. The bill finds that there are several reasons to adopt this policy the first of which being that new, low-yield nuclear weapons would lower the threshold for use of nuclear weapons. A second reason is that following a policy of ‘escalate to de-escalate’ is dangerous and misguided. In addition, this prohibition would decrease the likelihood of nuclear war and therefore increase national security.[1]  Here is a press release on the Hold the LYNE Act. 

Prevent spending on weapons banned by the INF Treaty – YES

Representative Gabbard of Hawaii sponsored H.R.1249 while S.312 was sponsored by Oregonian Senator Merkley and cosponsored by both Massachusetts Senators Warren and Markey.  President Trump announced February 1, 2019 that the US plans to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia.  The bill would prevent building missiles that would be banned by the treaty and restates the US’s policy to uphold the INF treaty which America joined in 1970. In addition, this bill would make no funds available for the Department of Defense in the fiscal year 2020, or any year following, for the testing, development, etc. of any missile prohibited under the INF treaty. Here is a press release by Rep. Gabbard on this legislation to uphold the INF treaty and this is Senator Merkley’s press release on the bill. 

Extension of New START Treaty – YES

S.845 is sponsored by Senator Menendez of New Jersey. This is a bill to establish as United States policy that, pending confirmation of the Russian Federation’s continued compliance with the New START Treaty (Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms), the United States should extend the treaty through 2026. Here is more information on why several members of Congress want to extend New START. 

Back from the Brink – Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – YES

Representative McGovern of Massachusetts is the sponsor of H.Res.302. This bill embraces the “goals and provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” while recognizing the multifaceted destruction and death that the use of nuclear weapons brings.[2] In addition, the bill calls for increased safeguards to ensure that a ‘mistake’ in nuclear detonation is less likely to occur. 

Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion – YES

The Representative at large for the District of Columbia, Eleanor Norton, is the sponsor of H.R.2419 and Representative McGovern is a cosponsor. An act calling for the U.S.’ signature on the U.N.’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the redistribution of resources currently used for nuclear weapons to an ecological, peace economy. This is a press release by Rep. Norton about the bill. 

Reduce the Threat of Nuclear Weapons: a Policy Brief by Peace Action 

A New Abnormal: It Is Still Two Minutes to Midnight” 

Fact Sheet on Why the United States Should Not Start a Nuclear War by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation 

Defense One: New, More Usable Nukes for Trump? No.” by Rep. Ted W. Lieu and Sen. Edward J. Markey

Nuclear powers upgrade arsenals as numbers fall: SIPRI” by DW

The Growing Dangers of the New Nuclear-Arms Race” by Eric Schlosser 

Here is a link to regular updates on the legislative status and cosponsorship of these bills. 

Sources:

[1] https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1086/text

[2] https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/302/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22H.Res.302%22%5D%7D&r=1&s=2