Council: Front and Center – October 17

An update on arms control, national security, and politics from Council for a Livable World and the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

What’s News:

Off-Budget Gimmicks Pass Through Congress…For Now

After successfully avoiding a government shutdown (to December, at least), both chambers of Congress turned to voting on the National Defense Authorization Act conference report. The bill contained an unacceptable addition of $38 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations account, for a grand total of $89 billion for the Pentagon’s slush fund. Council for a Livable World sent this vote alert to members of Congress calling on them to vote “No” on the bill. In the end, it passed through the Senate with a veto-proof majority, but we secured enough “No” votes in the House to sustain President Obama’s veto of this off-budget funding measure, as he has said he will do. 

For more on the differences between the House, Senate, and conference versions of the NDAA, click here to read our side-by-side analysis »

Additionally, here is how to understand the numbers in the Pentagon budget in one easy chart. 

Pentagon Budget Table

Iran Agreement Oversight “Lite”

It’s been nearly a month since the Iran nuclear agreement avoided disapproval by Congress, but it remains an important issue on Capitol Hill. The Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015 was introduced by several Senate Democrats who said they sought to strengthen congressional oversight of the agreement. The bill, which initially featured some objectionable provisions, has been toned down, and as a result, the Council neither supports nor opposes the bill. To learn more, read our letter to members of Congress on our neutral position »

Introducing: Our First Endorsed House Candidates!

Council for a Livable World is proud to announce our first slate of candidates running for the House of Representatives in 2016—coincidentally, all women leaders!

Five House women endorsed
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Slush Fund Fights 

If President Obama does indeed veto the NDAA over the abuse of the Pentagon’s slush fund, Congress will have to come up with an acceptable compromise. Senior Fellow John Isaacs gave his predictions in a recent piece from Vice News. Read it on our website »

The Syria Snafu

Not 5,400, not even 54—just four or five. That’s how many soldiers are left on the battlefield from the U.S.-led program to train Syrian rebels—and at the price tag of $500 million for the program. In an op-ed for The Hill, Research and Policy Associate Sarah Tully explores why this exemplifies Congress’s bigger budgeting problem. The program has since then been “partially” cancelled. Read Sarah’s piece on our website »


Fact-Checking Rep. Westmoreland

In The Atlantic Journal-Constitution, Research and Policy Associate Greg Terryn set the record straight on a comment from Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, who made the false claim that Iran doesn’t have to change its behavior in order to receive relief from sanctions as part of the nuclear agreement. Read the article here »


Pope Calls for a Nuclear-Free World

Pope Francis made waves during his first-ever tour of the United States just weeks ago. But what kind of wisdom did he offer specifically on issues of national security and foreign policy, and how does it compare to what he’s said in the past? We’ve got you covered on the Nukes of Hazard Blog »

Be Social:

The Danger of Loose Nukes: Not Up for Debate

No matter how you feel about Hillary Clinton, you have to admit that she nailed the answer to this question during Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate. Former Secretary of State Clinton believes the spread of nuclear weapons and loose nuclear materials remains the gravest threat faced by our nation, and we couldn’t agree more. Share our graphic on Facebook if you agree »

Hillary Clinton on Nuclear Weapons