An update on arms control, national security, and politics from Council for a Livable World and the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
On June 9th, Council for a Livable World board members, supporters, and students gathered at the historic Frederick Douglass Museum to honor Sen. Chris Murphy, Rep. Keith Ellison, and journalist Laura Rozen with the 2015 Father Robert F. Drinan National Peace and Human Rights Award. Their remarks and those of our presenters were moving and evocative of Father Drinan’s vision of a more just and peaceful world. We have slideshows of photographs, videos of the award presentations, and a full account of the evening available on our website. Be sure to check it out!
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) helped to ensure the Iran nuclear review bill was not a death knell for the talks, and his help will be needed again to support a final deal that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran. In an op-ed published for the Baltimore Sun, Lt. General Robert Gard and Angela Canterbury encourage Sen. Ben Cardin to support a deal that is verifiable and adheres to the framework.
Lobbying for a Deal
As the June 30 deadline looms for a final deal with Iran, many congressional offices are seeking our help in pushing back on arguments being made by those seeking to scuttle negotiations. Over the past few weeks, we met with several senators to discuss the Iran negotiations, and provided resources such as these factsheets and analysis to help inform their position on this critical issue.
We recently celebrated a victory when Congress passed a bill that included a provision that will prevent nuclear terrorism, implementing two critical nuclear treaties. Riding off of this important win, this week our team worked with Senate staff to block an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment, offered by none other than Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), proposed restricting the dismantlement of retired nuclear weapons and would have been a major step backward in an already slow dismantlement process.
On June 18, the Senate concluded its consideration of the NDAA after adopting a managers’ package of “non-controversial amendments.” Thanks to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, senators were only allowed to vote on 10% of the more than 600 amendments offered. As John Isaacs put, “There were lots of speeches and very little action.” We were providing regular updates and analysis on this critical legislation. If you’d like to learn more, please click here.
Just ahead of receiving the Father Drinan Award, Sen. Murphy (D-Conn.) joined with other Council-endorsed Sens. Schatz and Heinrich to offer eight new principles for progressive foreign policy in Foreign Affairs. These principles center around the belief that working diplomatically with our allies and partners to achieve greater national security is imperative. Read a summary of their article by our newest intern, Matt Price.
As the NDAA winds its way through Congress, the House and Senate are pursuing very different paths when it comes to spending on missile defense. Senior Fellow John Isaacs goes on record for the National Journal about how “the House loves missile defense,” while of late the Senate has (thankfully) largely rejected these costly and ineffective programs.
There was a recent report that Washington may be considering the deployment of missiles to Europe. In Videonews, John Isaacs shuts down this proposal as “unlikely,” arguing instead for renewed cooperation to avoid further confrontation.
From our Research Center:
Opposing the Navy Slush Fund
Budget gimmicks are all the rage at the Pentagon. As Democrats and Republicans in the Senate prepare for a showdown over the Overseas Contingency Operations account, a new slush fund to pay for nuclear submarines that the Navy can’t afford is a new point of contention. Although the Center urged members of the House to oppose an amendment to the NDAA that would permit funding to flow into the Sea-Based Deterrence Fund, it unfortunately passed. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee has already objected to the Navy’s proposal. We’ll be supporting their efforts. Read the letter on our website.
Be sure to watch Senator Murphy’s remarks as he calls for a more principled foreign policy in the Senate, and Representative Ellison as he calls for a “constituency for peace,” and journalist Laura Rozen as she gives an exclusive download on all things Iran talks. Don’t forget to share widely!