Senator Markey & Rep. Blumenauer Introduce Legislation to Cut $100 Billion from Bloated Nuclear Weapons Budget

May 25, 2017
Press Release
United States will spend nearly $1 trillion on upgrading its nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years

Washington (May 25, 2017) – Following release of a Trump administration budget that proposes to increase spending on nuclear weapons by billions of dollars, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) today introduced bicameral legislation that would cut $100 billion from the wasteful nuclear weapons budget over the next decade. The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act improves national security and budgetary sanity by cutting redundant and destabilizing nuclear programs. Upgrading and maintaining nuclear warheads and production facilities over the next 30 years is expected to cost nearly $1 trillion. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The House bill has 11 co-sponsors.

“It is time we inserted some desperately-needed sanity into America’s budget priorities,” said Senator Markey. “As President Trump proposes devastating cuts to Medicare, food assistance, and Head Start, it makes no sense to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on new nuclear weapons that undermine deterrence and make Americans less safe. We should fund education, not annihilation. The SANE Act cuts nuclear weapons and delivery systems that we don’t need so we can invest in the people and programs that will make America safe and prosperous in the future.”

“Nuclear weapons are not going to make us safer and they’re not going to help us deal with the threats we face today,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “Why would we spend $1 trillion on them over the next 30 years? It makes no sense. With Trump’s budget proposal, it’s even more critical we have a serious conversation about dialing back unnecessary – and dangerous – weapons systems.”

The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act will:

  • Reduce the purchase of Columbia-class submarines from 12 to 8, cut the existing ICBM fleet from over 400 to 150, and reduce deployed strategic warheads from approximately 1,500 to 1,000 – saving $17 billion
  • Cancel the life extension program for the tactical B61 gravity bomb and cancel the development of a new air-launched cruise missile, the LRSO – saving $10 billion
  • Cancel development of new ICBMs and cut the life extension program for the IW-1 warhead – saving $22 billion
  • Delay the new B-21 long range bomber and remove the nuclear mission from the F-35 – saving more than $46.1 billion
  •  Cancel construction of new nuclear processing facilities – saving $8 billion

 

A copy of the SANE Act can be found HERE.

“As the Trump administration seeks to slash spending on health care and other essential programs, the United States simply cannot afford to spend over $1 Trillion on nuclear weapons, as President Trump plans to do,” said Tom Z. Collina, Director of Policy at Ploughshares Fund. “We must prioritize the needs of Main Street USA over defense contractors. The SANE Act lays out a common sense approach to saving hundreds of billions in nuclear spending that will actually enhance US national security.”

“As a new nuclear arms race looms and wasteful Pentagon spending soars at the expense of diplomacy, the SANE Act is a measured, responsible policy that ensures that war is not our first resort,” said Megan Amundson, Executive Director of Women's Action for New Directions.

“The current, all-of-the-above plan for replacing and upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal being pursued by the Trump administration is unaffordable and would rob resources from other vital national priorities. The current plan would maintain a force level that exceeds defense requirements by at least one-third according to a 2013 Pentagon assessment,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the nonpartisan Arms Control Association. "With the SANE Act, Sen. Markey and others show that there are other options that would save taxpayer dollars by trimming, delaying or cancelling new weapons programs, while still maintaining a formidable nuclear force capable of deterring any nuclear adversary. We urge Congress to pursue a more cost effective and common sense strategy.”

“60 years ago, Peace Action, then called, The Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy formed because of public concern that a nuclear war between Russia and the U.S. would end humanity. Unfortunately, we still face that risk today. Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) reintroduced the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act with 14 other Members of Congress that will reduce the risk of nuclear war and make Americans safer. Not only is this bill SANE, it’s a smart way to save taxpayer dollars at a time when voters need job creation, education, health care and other security priorities,” said Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director, Policy and Political Affairs, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze).

 

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