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Quigley, Polis Move to Cut $167 Million in Wasteful Nuclear Warhead Funding

May 1, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Jared Polis (CO-02) 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“In this budget environment, every dollar we spend to keep our outdated and oversized nuclear arsenal functioning is a dollar we aren’t spending on other priorities that keep us safe and secure or on reducing our unsustainable debt and deficits,” said Rep. Quigley. “My amendment proposed a modest and thoughtful cut to slow the development of the warhead as we continue to assess the need for a new nuclear-armed cruise missile and its associated costs.” 

“This nuclear weapons program is a relic of the past, built for a Cold War-era that we are far removed from,” said Rep. Polis. “It's exactly the type of wasteful spending that is so frustrating for me and my constituents. Instead of spending limited resources on outdated weapons systems, we should focus these resources on what actually keeps us safe.”

“Given the dubious rationale for building hundreds of new nuclear air-launched cruise missiles, the administration's proposal to accelerate development of the new missile and associated warhead life extension program doesn't make strategic or fiscal sense,” said Kingston Reif, Director of Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy for the Arms Control Association. “We applaud Rep. Quigley for seeking to delay the cruise missile warhead refurbishment and for his leadership in shining a much needed light on the administration's unaffordable nuclear weapons spending plans."

“Congressman Quigley’s amendment highlights two glaring questions about the United States’ nuclear weapons modernization plans: (1) do we need to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years to rebuild a Cold War-era nuclear arsenal and (2) can we afford to?” said Susan Shaer, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), an organization that focuses on reprioritizing federal spending away from wars and toward human and environmental needs. “The reality is while we spend money on an excessive nuclear weapons arsenal, and programs like the nuclear-tipped cruise missile, we are taking away from our ability to invest in programs that really help keep us safe and secure.”

Rep. Quigley’s amendment would have put $167 million towards deficit reduction by placing funding for the new nuclear-armed cruise missile warhead back on its original FY2015 acquisition schedule. There is a great deal of uncertainty about whether the nuclear-armed cruise missile warhead life extension program is affordable, executable and necessary. Yet, this year’s budget speeds up development of the warhead by two years even though the existing air launched cruise missile and warhead will be maintained until FY2030 and beyond. This unnecessary acceleration is being used to justify an enormous increase in funding from $9 million in FY15 to $195 million in FY16.

The amendment was supported by Arms Control Association, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Council for a Livable World, Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers), Just Foreign Policy, National Taxpayers Union, Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientist, Peace Action, Project on Government Oversight, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Union of Concerned Scientists, Win Without War, and Women’s Action for New Directions.

Rep. Quigley spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday during debate of the amendment. For video and transcript of Rep. Quigley’s speech, please click here

Rep. Quigley is an outspoken advocate for nuclear arms reduction, working in the House Appropriations Committee to overhaul unlimited defense spending. Last year, 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.