Council for a Livable World Expresses Gratitude to Senator Feinstein for Her Leadership on Nuclear Funding Program

Washington DC – June 27, 2013 – News Release – 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.

“We applaud Sen. Feinstein for her leadership in preventing nuclear terrorism and curtailing wasteful spending on an unnecessary and unrealistic life extension program,� said Kingston Reif, director of non-proliferation programs at Council for a Livable World. “Her 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.�

The President’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.

“By 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,� said John Isaacs, executive director of Council for a Livable World. “It also sends a signal that future administration budget requests must adequately fund these programs.�

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.

“There are cheaper alternatives to extend the life of the B61 bomb than the current $10 billion life extension plan,� added Reif.

In addition to praising Senator Feinstein’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.

“Senators Feinstein and Lamar Alexander have a great history of working together to obtain a bipartisan consensus on vital nuclear terrorism prevention programs,� said Isaacs. “Together, 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.�

“As 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,� added Isaacs.

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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.