The policy director of a top anti-nuclear weapons foundation urged Congress Monday to “hold the line” against funding new low-yield nuclear warheads for the Defense Department in the wake of the collapse of a major arms control deal with Russia.
Tom Collina of the San Francisco-based Ploughshares Fund tweeted Monday morning that President Trump’s drive for a more “usable” nuclear weapon is a critical issue in the congressional battle to pass a massive 2020 defense policy bill. “Kill it now,” he wrote.
Lawmakers are returning to Washington Monday from their annual August recess, and Republicans are expected to make a renewed push to fund Mr. Trump’s proposed low-yield nuclear weapons program after several amendments to the House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) were rejected earlier this year.
Republicans on Capitol Hill and administration officials have argued the so-called “tactical” nuclear weapon is key to deterring rivals such as China and Russia. Democrats, meanwhile, have said the production of such warheads, which can be placed on submarines, could increase the likelihood of a nuclear conflict.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, Washington state Democrat, has long been a critic of nuclear modernization and has vowed to reduce spending on the country’s nuclear arsenal. He has called for a review of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review and a ban on low-yield nuclear warheads, among other weapons.