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Quigley Amendment Prioritizes Nuclear Non-Proliferation & Deficit Reduction in Defense Appropriations Bill

Jun 16, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, offered an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations bill that reprioritizes funding that will be used to develop the nuclear capable Long Range Standoff weapon and instead use that funding to reduce the United States’ unsustainable debt and deficits. Rep. Quigley’s remarks on the House Floor during debate of his amendment are available here. The amendment was defeated on a vote of 159-261.

“Instead of investing more money into our outdated and oversized nuclear arsenal, we must make smart investments on other priorities that actually keep Americans safe, or on reducing our unsustainable debt and deficits,” said Rep. Quigley. “My amendment would put $75.8 million towards deficit reduction by placing funding for the Long Range Standoff weapon back on its Fiscal Year 2015 acquisition schedule. There’s no need to rush development when, as little as two years ago, the Air Force had requested a delay in procurement to pay for higher priorities. While my amendment was not successful today, I look forward to working with my colleagues on a smarter nuclear strategy and reinvesting our limited resources on priorities that actually keep Americans safe.”

Rep. Quigley’s amendment was cosponsored by Reps. Adam Smith (WA-09), House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), John Garamendi (CA-03), and Jared Polis (CO-02).

The U.S. Air Force currently plans to acquire 1,000 next generation air launched cruise missiles, also known as the Long Range Standoff weapon. This is double the size of the existing nuclear-armed cruise missile arsenal. However, many experts have already argue that there is no need for nuclear armed cruise missiles. The U.S. already has the most advanced bomber ever created, the B-2 stealth bomber, and the Air Force will be acquiring new B-21 stealth bombers. These bombers are capable of penetrating enemy airspace and dropping a nuclear bomb directly above a target, making nuclear armed cruise missiles redundant.

Last year’s budget doubled down and accelerated the production of the missile by two years. The accelerated procurement schedule will cost taxpayers an additional $75.8 million more in FY2017 than originally planned in the FY2015 acquisition schedule. But that makes little sense when there is so much uncertainty about whether this missile is affordable or even necessary. Rep. Quigley’s amendment would put $75.8 million towards deficit reduction by placing funding for the Long Range Standoff weapon back on its FY2015 acquisition schedule.

Rep. Quigley’s amendment is supported by: Arms Control Association; Center for International Policy; Coalition to Reduce Spending; Council for a Livable World; Federation of American Scientists; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Georgia WAND; Global Zero; London Center for Policy Research; National Taxpayers Union; Nuclear Watch New Mexico; Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance; Peace Action; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Ploughshares Fund; Project on Government Oversight; Taxpayers for Common Sense; Taxpayers Protection Alliance; Tri-Valley CARES; Union of Concerned Scientists; Win Without War; and Women's Action for New Directions.

Rep. Quigley is Ranking Member of Emerging Threats subcommittee on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He has been an outspoken advocate for reprioritizing U.S. homeland security and defense funding to meet the needs and threats of today. He has also been a proponent for nuclear arms reduction, working in the House Appropriations Committee to overhaul unlimited defense spending. This year, Rep. Quigley successfully included his amendment to add an additional $22 million in critical funding for the Nuclear Counterterrorism and Incident Response Program in the manager’s amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. He also hosted a briefing with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) about the current state of U.S. nuclear weapons policy and the need to reprioritize nuclear weapons funding via careful planning and preparation that reflects the current security and budgetary environments. Last year, Rep. Quigley offered an amendment to the FY2016 Energy & Water (E&W) Appropriations Bill that would have saved taxpayers $167 million by maintaining the FY2015 acquisition schedule for the nuclear-armed cruise missile warhead (W80-4). In 2014, he urged a one-third reduction in America’s ICBMs stockpile, and worked to cut $23.7 million in wasteful funding for the B61 nuclear bomb program. He is the author of Reinventing Government: The Federal Budget, a report which offers 60 recommendations to save $2 trillion over the next 10 years.