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Jayapal Leads House Lawmakers in Urging Biden to Reduce the Role of Nuclear Weapons

Jayapal leads lawmakers in calling on President Biden to use the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review to set a strategy that limits the role of nuclear weapons, reduces unnecessary spending, and reverses Trump’s dangerous efforts to increase America’s nuclear arsenal

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) led dozens of lawmakers today in calling on President Joe Biden to make the world safer by immediately limiting the role of nuclear weapons. Highlighting the President’s longstanding commitment to reducing the role of nuclear weapons, their letter urges him to use the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review to set a nuclear strategy that limits the role of nuclear weapons in our national security, reduces unnecessary spending, and sets the stage for tangible progress towards additional global arms control and risk reduction measures.

“We write today to express our grave concern that your Fiscal Year 2022 budget request for nuclear weapons does not reflect your longstanding efforts to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons,” said the lawmakers. “We respectfully request that you reverse the Trump Administration’s efforts to increase spending on these costly, unnecessary, and deeply dangerous nuclear weapons. Taking these initial steps to slow the development of new nuclear weapons will increase the day-to-day security of the United States and our allies, set the stage for potential progress in future talks on arms control, and save billions of dollars for more pressing needs.”

President Biden has long believed that the U.S. should decrease the likelihood of nuclear war, reduce the role that nuclear weapons play in U.S. security policy, and oppose the development of unneeded new nuclear weapons. While holding this view as Vice President and a candidate for president, he recently reaffirmed his long standing belief that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” 

However, his Fiscal Year 2022 budget request does not reflect those beliefs. The request for nuclear weapons maintains or increases the budget for every nuclear weapons program proposed by the Trump Administration, including funding weapons that the Obama Administration opposed or sought to retire. 

This budget invests an estimated $634 billion over 10 years to rebuild every delivery vehicle, every weapon, and every warhead in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. This includes not only keeping but tripling funding for the megaton-class B83 gravity bomb. It also includes spending $134 million for a new high-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead known as the W93. Additionally, the FY2022 budget proposes $2.5 billion for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GSBD) and the acquisition of a Long-Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO) with a price tag of $29 billion. 

Today’s call to reduce the role of nuclear weapons is supported by local, national, and international organizations including Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (USA); Beyond Nuclear; Beyond the Bomb; Center for International Policy; Citizen Power, Inc.; CODEPINK; Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety; Council for a Livable World; Franciscan Peace Center; Friends Committee on National Legislation; From Hiroshima to Hope (FHTH); Global Zero; Just Foreign Policy; Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment; No More Bombs; Nonviolence International; Nuclear Age Peace Foundation; Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS); Nuclear Information and Resource Service; Nukewatch; PEAC Institute – Peace Education | Art | Communication; Physicians for Social Responsibility;; The Carrie Dickerson Foundation; Union of Concerned Scientists; Veterans for Peace; Win Without War; Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom US; Women’s Action for New Directions; World BEYOND War; World Future Council; Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace; Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility; Church Council of Greater Seattle; Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone; Earthkeeper Health Resources; Indivisible Bainbridge Island; Michigan Safe Energy Future – Shoreline Chapter; Mid-Missouri Peaceworks; Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force; Newton Dialogues on Peace and War; Nuclear Watch New Mexico; Peace Action WI; (PRESS) Portsmouth Piketon Residents for Environmental Safety and Security; Prevent Nuclear War Maryland; Savannah River Site Watch; Seattle Anti-War Coalition; Snake River Alliance; Southwest Research and Information Center; Support and Education for Radiation Victims (SERV); Washington Against Nuclear Weapons Coalition; Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy; Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment); Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility; West Seattle Neighbors for Peace and Justice; Western New York Environmental Alliance; and Whatcom Peace & Justice Center. 

“The world is on a dangerous path and, at least when it comes to nuclear weapons issues, the Biden administration is adding fuel to the fire,” said Stephen Young, the Senior Washington Representative and Acting Director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “This letter from dozens of House members makes a number of sensible suggestions the Biden team can adopt that will slow the nuclear arms race. UCS is happy to support all its recommendations.”

“President Biden’s early move to engage in direct diplomacy with Russia demonstrated that he understands the unparalleled danger that nuclear war represents to the world. Biden and Putin’s renewed support for the Reagan-Gorbachev pledge that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’ is an important step in the right direction,” said Erik Sperling, the executive director of the pro-diplomacy group Just Foreign Policy. “Now it’s time for President Biden to put his words into action. He should listen to this diverse group of sensible voices from his own party and reverse Trump’s dangerous and wasteful nuclear build-up.”

The letter is signed by U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Suzanne Bonamici, Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D, Julia Brownley, Steve Cohen, Peter A. DeFazio, Diana DeGette, Anna G. Eshoo, Bill Foster, John Garamendi, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Raúl M. Grijalva, Jared Huffman, Ro Khanna, Daniel T. Kildee, Barbara Lee, Ted W. Lieu, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Carolyn B. Maloney, James P. McGovern, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ilhan Omar, Mark Pocan, Ayanna Pressley, Jan Schakowsky, Rashida Tlaib, Maxine Waters, and Peter Welch.

A copy of the letter is available here.