Washington DC â€“ June 27, 2013 â€“ News Release â€“ Earlier today the Senate Appropriations Committee marked-up the FY 2014 Energy and Waters Appropriations bill. Because of the efforts and leadership of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) the committee passed a bill that increases funding to prevent nuclear terrorism while scaling back wasteful spending on the life extension program for the B61 nuclear gravity bomb.
â€œWe applaud Sen. Feinstein for her leadership in preventing nuclear terrorism and curtailing wasteful spending on an unnecessary and unrealistic life extension program,â€� said Kingston Reif, director of non-proliferation programs at Council for a Livable World. â€œHer bill is a victory for U.S. national security and the more responsible stewardship of defense dollars, We hope that the Senate funding levels are included in the final appropriations bill.â€�
The Presidentâ€™s FY 2014 budget request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) slashed funding for successful anti-nuclear terrorism and nonproliferation programs including the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, which have removed dangerous nuclear materials from ten countries. While cutting cost-effective non-proliferation programs, the request for the B61 refurbishment rose by forty-five percent above FY2013 appropriations. Two years ago, NNSA estimated the program would cost $4 billion and start in 2017. Today, its estimate has ballooned to over $10 billion and the first refurbished bomb will not be produced until 2020 at the earliest.
â€œBy reversing more than $120 million in core nuclear and radiological terrorism prevention program cuts, the Senate bill would ensure that these activities remain on an accelerated track to secure dangerous weapons usable materials,â€� said John Isaacs, executive director of Council for a Livable World. â€œIt also sends a signal that future administration budget requests must adequately fund these programs.â€�
In addition to preventing cuts in nuclear terrorism prevention programs, the Senate bill reduces funding and requires NNSA to reassess more cost-effective life extension options for the B61 nuclear bomb.
â€œThere are cheaper alternatives to extend the life of the B61 bomb than the current $10 billion life extension plan,â€� added Reif.
In addition to praising Senator Feinsteinâ€™s leadership; Council for a Livable World also praised the thoughtfulness of subcommittee Ranking Member, Lamar Alexander (R-TN) as well as the members of the subcommittee and full committee.
â€œSenators Feinstein and Lamar Alexander have a great history of working together to obtain a bipartisan consensus on vital nuclear terrorism prevention programs,â€� said Isaacs. â€œTogether, the subcommittee worked to ensure the most effective expenditure of taxpayer dollars that enhance U.S. national security and limits spending on wasteful and unnecessary programs.â€�
â€œAs the bill passes from committee to the Senate floor and then conference committee, we hope to see the increased non-proliferation funding retained as are reductions to wasteful programs,â€� added Isaacs.
Council for a Livable World is a non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to increasing national security, particularly through reducing of the danger of nuclear weapons proliferation. The Council advocates for a strong and sensible national security policy and helps elect congressional candidates supporting those ideals.