Council Joins Others In Signing Letter In Favor of NDAA Amendments

Council for a Livable World signed a letter to House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith informing him of our support on certain amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, ahead of key votes on the amendments.The full text of the letter is below.


The Honorable Adam Smith
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington DC 20515

Dear Representative Smith,

As the House considers H.R. 2500, the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, our organizations recommend the following votes on amendments to the bill:

SupportVote #31 Engel (D-NY) revised amendment expressing support for extending the New START Treaty. The amendment also prohibits use of funds to withdraw from New START unless Russia is in material breach of the treaty, requires DNI, SecState, and SecDef reports detailing the consequences of the Treaty’s lapse and impact on US nuclear modernization plan and requires Presidential certification regarding the future of the Treaty before its potential expiration.
Comment: While the administration’s attempt to include Russia and China in broader discussions on nuclear weapons issues is laudable, it is not reason not to extend New START, which verifiably caps Russia’s strategic arsenal and provides predictability and transparency that benefit US security.

SupportVote #32 Blumenauer (D-OR) revised amendment requiring an independent study on options to extend the life of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles and delaying the ground-based strategic deterrent program (GBSD). Prevents 10% of funds for the Secretary of Defense from being distributed until the study is submitted.
Comment: With GBSD at an estimated cost of $100 billion, there is no reason not to do a study that considers the possibility of extending the life of existing Minuteman missiles.

SupportVote #33 Blumenauer (D-OR), Garamendi (CA) revised amendment requiring the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security to conduct a study on the unexpected cost increases for the W80-4 nuclear warhead life extension program and prevents $185 million from being obligated or expended until the study is complete.
Comment: Costs for the W80-4 are rising sharply and the NNSA has not adequately explained why. Given the NNSA’s history of massive cost increases on major programs, more information is required before Congress funds unexpected cost changes.

SupportVote #34 Frankel (D-FL) amendment prohibiting funding for missiles noncompliant with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty until the Secretary of Defense meets certain conditions.
Comment: Joining an unnecessary intermediate-range arms race with Russia does not serve US interests, particularly when there is no consensus within NATO to do so and the US has nowhere to sensibly deploy such missiles. Other diplomatic, economic, and military responses to Russia’s missile deployments should be pursued.

SupportVote #35 Langevin (D- RI), Courtney (CT), Garamendi (CA), Larsen, Rick (WA), Foster (IL), Adam Smith (WA), Katie Hill (CA) amendment to add $20 million to the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation budget to conduct research and development on low-enriched uranium for naval reactors.
Comment: The US should join our allies in moving away from relying on highly-enriched uranium – which is also suitable for use in nuclear weapons – as the fuel for naval reactors.

SupportVote #216 Khanna (D-CA) revised amendment authorizing $10 million to be available to develop and prepare a monitoring and verification program related to the phased denuclearization of North Korea, in coordination with relevant international partners and organizations.
Comment: Should an agreement with North Korea be reached, the US must be prepared to monitor and verify that agreement.

Support: Vote #217 Khanna (D-CA), Sherman (CA), Kim (NJ), Barbara Lee (CA), Norton (DC), Cisneros (CA), Espaillat (NY), Omar (MN), Haaland (NM), Lofgren (CA), Jayapal (WA), Perlmutter (CO) revised amendment urging the U.S. to pursue a sustained and credible diplomatic process to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea and an end to the 69-year-long Korean War.
Comment: The US and its allies should pursue a sustained and credible diplomatic process to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea and an end to the Korean War.

Oppose: Vote #386 Turner (R-OH) Strikes the provision relating to the prohibition on the use of funds for the deployment of low-yield ballistic missile warheads and requires the SECDEF to certify on the availability of proportional response options.
Comment: In the appropriations process, the House sensibly rejected a previous attempt to restore funding for the Trump administration’s unneeded and dangerous new nuclear weapon.

Support: Vote #423 Khanna (D-CA) and 88 co-sponsors amendment prohibiting unauthorized military force in or against Iran.
Comment: If the administration’s goal is to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, diplomacy is the only viable option. Militarily, the administration cannot act alone; Congress must authorize any military strike.

Support: Vote #441 Jayapal (D-WA) Revised Requires studies regarding potential cost savings with respect to the nuclear security enterprise and force structure from the Comptroller General, Federally funded research and development centers, a nongovernmental think tank and the CBO.
Comment: The estimated cost of the plan to rebuild the entire US nuclear arsenal is $1.7 trillion over 30 years. It only makes sense to ask multiple agencies and actors to examine alternative ideas and approaches that could save countless billions of dollars.

Amendments Included in En Blocs

SupportVote #87 Carbajal (D-CA) amendment requiring the National Academies of Sciences to conduct an independent review of plans and capabilities for nuclear verification, detection, and monitoring of nuclear weapons and fissile material. (Included in EB2, already passed)

SupportVote #113 Courtney (D-CT) amendment requiring a report on US, Russian, and Chinese nuclear systems. (Included in EB3, already passed)

SupportVote #148 Foster (D-IL) revised amendment revises the testing requirement for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System to include the use of threat-representative countermeasures. (Included in EB6)

SupportVote #149 Foster (D-IL) revised amendment extending the congressional notification period to 180 days if the Secretary of Defense chooses to terminate its contract with the JASON scientific advisory group and requires that the Secretary receive congressional approval. The amendment also clarifies that JASON provides scientific and technical advice to multiple Federal agencies, including the Department of Defense. (Included in EB6)

SupportVote #150 Foster (D-IL) revised amendment requiring an independent study on the impacts of missile defense development and deployment. (Included in EB6)

SupportVote #167 Gottheimer (D-NJ) revised amendment directs the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State to send Congress recommendations to improve the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. (Included in EB7)

Support:Vote #320 Porter (D-CA) amendment preserving the requirement for the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation to produce a public annual report. (Included in EB13)



Arms Control Association

Beyond the Bomb

Council for a Livable World

Federation of American Scientists

Foreign Policy for America

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Global Zero

Peace Action 

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Ploughshares Fund

Rachel Carson Council

Savannah River Site Watch

Tri-Valley CAREs

Union of Concerned Scientists

Win Without War

Women’s Action for New Directions