Quigley: Reprioritize Nuclear Funding to Focus on Modern Security Threats
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) hosted a briefing 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.
“In this budget environment, every dollar we spend to keep our outdated and oversized nuclear arsenal functioning is a dollar we aren’t spending on other priorities that keep Americans safe, such as critical spending on homeland security grants, intelligence gathering, and cybersecurity,” said Rep. Quigley. “Rather than wasting tax dollars to keep up the status quo, it’s time to make smart investments in our defense spending and remake an efficient nuclear force that meets our 21st century fiscal and strategic needs. I want to thank the esteemed panelists and Congressman Blumenauer for shining a light on this critical conversation. It is time to start building a commonsense plan to reduce our nuclear arsenal and reform our nuclear strategy so that we address modern security threats.”
“Our nuclear weapons policy is on auto-pilot. We’re spending too much on weapons we don’t need and shouldn’t use. Our defense spending must be reevaluated to meet today’s strategic challenges,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Quigley and this panel of experts understand the importance of getting this right. Instead of continuing down the current unsustainable path, let’s focus on maintaining appropriate priorities for the military strength and defense of our country.”
Rep. Quigley discussed U.S. nuclear weapons policy during a briefing on the Hill.
Rep. Quigley gave opening remarks, followed by a panelist discussion. Panelists included: Andrew Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Chemical and Biological Weapons, U.S. Department of Defense; Amy Woolf, Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy, Congressional Research Service; and Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, Arms Control Association. The panel was moderated by Erica Fein, Nuclear Weapons Policy Director, Women’s Action for New Directions.
Today’s briefing covered an overview of current long-term plans and the FY17 budget request; balancing the conventional and nuclear spending “bow wave”; how Russian and Chinese nuclear and conventional capabilities—plus ISIS—figure into U.S. nuclear planning, and; opportunities to adjust current plans given cost and threat assessments.
Rep. Quigley is an outspoken advocate for nuclear arms reduction, working in the House Appropriations Committee to overhaul unlimited defense spending. 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.