- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2019

The House Armed Services Committee is expected to weigh in on President Trump’s withdrawal from a critical arms treaty with Russia and the pending renewal of a key nuclear pact with Moscow.

Officials from the committee said Monday that both issues will likely be addressed via legislative amendments or in the committee chairman’s final version of the bill.

The Trump administration has already withdrawn from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear (INF) Treaty with Russia, dealing with shorter-range “tactical” nuclear weapons, over what the U.S. says is Moscow’s violations of the pact.

The administration is still weighing whether to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, widely known as New START, which limits the number of deployable U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons at no more than 1,550. Initiated in 2010 under the Obama administration, the current pact is slated to expire in 2021 unless President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agree to extend it.

But Democratic Chairman Adam Smith sharply criticized the INF withdrawal and has pressed the White House to renew New START.



“I think it would be problematic if we let that treaty expire,” the Washington state lawmaker said in an interview with the Arms Control Association In December. Allowing the pact to go past due would result in a “escalating arms race [with Russia] which gets us in dangerous territory,” the Washington Democrat added at the time.

 

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