In full transparency, the following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey , who was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. He is a Democrat.
WASHINGTON DC – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) today reintroduced the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act, which would cancel or reduce nuclear weapons programs over the next decade and generate at least $73 billion in cost savings.
This legislation would restore budget sanity and advance U.S. national security by cutting redundant and destabilizing nuclear programs, and factoring in affordability analysis into programs, a course of action recommended by the Government Accountability Office. Upgrading and maintaining nuclear warheads and their associated infrastructure through FY2046 is anticipated to cost $1.7 trillion, adjusted for inflation, forcing tradeoffs in other areas of the U.S. discretionary budget.
“President Biden can create a future safe from nuclear weapons, not for them, by stopping production of unnecessary nuclear weapons acquisition programs,” said Senator Markey. “The United States can deter our adversaries and reassure our allies without making an insane investment in nuclear weapons overkill, including capabilities that may invite rather than prevent a nuclear exchange. While President Trump’s actions tilted the ‘Doomsday Clock’ towards midnight, President Biden has a chance to build back a better nuclear weapons policy that does more with less. We must bring the same energy in arresting the climate crisis to reducing another existential threat – that posed by nuclear weapons – and that begins with smart cuts to our nuclear arsenal.”
“These disastrous weapons will never be the answer to solving our complex and ever-changing national security threats,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “We should not be investing trillions of dollars of our budget on an outdated and irresponsible nuclear arsenal. There are far more important programs and initiatives that will actually help and protect the American people. This legislation will put us on the path towards a safer, nuclear-free future.”
A copy of the SANE Act can be found HERE.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representatives Jared Huffman (CA-02), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09).
CBO estimates that the current plans for nuclear modernization would cost $494 billion through FY2028; the proposed cuts to these plans could reduce those estimates by at least $73 billion over the same number of years.
The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act will prohibit the fielding of so-called “low-yield” warheads, prohibit space-based missile defense, remove the nuclear mission from the F-35 and reduce the purchase of Columbia-class submarines from 12 to eight, cut the existing ICBM fleet from over 400 to 150, and reduce deployed strategic warheads from approximately 1,500 to 1,000 – saving at least $13.6 billion. Additionally, the bill would:
- Cancel the development of a new air-launched cruise missile and an associated warhead life extension program – saving $13.3 billion.
- Cancel the development of new ICBMs and a new nuclear warhead – saving at least $13.6 billion.
- Cancel the development of a new submarine-launched cruise missile – saving $9 billion.
- Limit the plutonium pit production target to 30 per year – saving $9 billion.
- Prohibit funding for a nuclear processing facility – saving $2.6 billion.
- Retire the B83-1 megaton bomb as previously planned – saving $4.4 billion.
- Prohibit development of the new W-93 warhead – saving $7.5 billion (half of the estimated total acquisition cost according to NNSA).
The legislation is endorsed by Beyond the Bomb, Massachusetts Peace Action, the Ploughshares Fund, Peace Action, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and the Arms Control Association.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic, student loan debt crisis, and countless other issues illustrate the ways in which our budget prioritizes military might over human need. Trimming, delaying or cancelling nuclear weapons programs puts us on a path towards a more equitable and, critically, more secure country. I am proud to support the SANE Act and grateful for Senator Markey’s leadership in making sanity a key criteria for good policy,” said Cecili Thomas Williams, Executive Director, Beyond the Bomb.
“The United States nuclear arsenal is a danger to the entire human race and to our own citizens. We should cut our deployed missiles and submarines and reverse the dangerous expansion of our nuclear forces that are now underway. We urgently need funds to recover from COVID, rebuild our public health system, assist our people economically and fight climate change — not new nuclear weapons,” said Cole Harrison, Executive Director, Massachusetts Peace Action.
“When it comes to nuclear weapons, sometimes less is more. By cancelling particularly destabilizing weapons, like the new ICBM, and limiting the numbers of other weapons to what we need for deterrence, the nation can save hundreds of billions of dollars that can be better spent on higher priorities. We have already been through one nuclear arms race, and once was enough. Thanks to Sen. Markey for his leadership on this crucial issue,” said Tom Collina, Policy Director, Ploughshares Fund.
“Senator Markey continues his long-time leadership on keeping the world safe from possible annihilation by nuclear weapons by reintroducing the SANE Act,” added Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director, Policy and Political Affairs for Peace Action. “This legislation (named after our predecessor organization, SANE/Freeze) would bring sanity to ridiculous spending on nuclear weapons and allow the U.S. to invest in other needs like solving the climate crisis and racial equity. America must heed the call of the 86 countries who signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to move towards eliminating these destabilizing weapons rather than wasting hundreds of billions on money pit missiles.”
“Nuclear weapons endanger human civilization. The SANE Act introduces much needed rationality into the policies and expenditures that govern the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The Friends Committee on National Legislation believes that nuclear weapons should be abolished, and this legislation would take an important first step toward that goal,” said Diana Ohlbaum, Legislative Director for Foreign Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation.
“The United States maintains a larger and more diverse nuclear arsenal than is required to deter and respond to a nuclear attack against itself or its allies. The planned spending to maintain and replace the arsenal, which could approach $2 trillion over the next 30 years, will pose a significant affordability problem, and threaten other national security priorities,” said Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, the Arms Control Association. “The SANE Act illustrates the many options that could be pursued to save taxpayer dollars by trimming, delaying or cancelling new weapons programs, while still maintaining a formidable nuclear force capable of deterring any nuclear adversary. We urge Congress to pursue a more cost effective and commonsense strategy.”