Reject new nukes, arms control groups tell US Congress

By agency reporter
15 Apr 2008

Twenty-eight arms control advocacy and religious organizations called today for a key committee of the US Congress to stop the administration from building a new nuclear weapon.

In a letter to the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee organized by the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers), the groups warned that support for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program “would seriously undermine the credibility of US leadership on non-proliferation and disarmament.”

Congress previously provided no money for RRW, citing the lack of a comprehensive US nuclear weapons policy to guide nuclear arsenal decisions. Nevertheless, the Bush administration requested $10 million for the program in its budget request.

“At a time when former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz have joined with former Senator Sam Nunn and former Secretary of Defense William Perry to call on the US to work for nuclear disarmament, it doesn’t make sense to start building new weapons,” said Devin Helfrich, a lobbyist for the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

“The leaders of this committee understood last year that there is no solid justification for this program, yet the administration asks for money year after year. Congress and the people of the United States are committed to reducing the nuclear danger, and a step toward that end is eliminating funding for RRW.”

Testifying before the House in 2007, former Senator Sam Nunn noted the 'strategic error' the United States would make by producing new nuclear weapons at a time when other countries are considering developing their own arsenals. “[I]f Congress gives a green light to this [RRW] program in our current world environment,” he argued, “I believe that this will be: misunderstood by our allies; exploited by our adversaries; and complicate our work to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons.”

Read the full text of the letter: www.fcnl.org/issues/item.php?item_id=3251&issue_id=51

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