PNND Co-President Markey introduces Legislative Act to slash nuclear weapons spending

Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditure (SANE) Act introduced in U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The Act would slash U.S. nuclear weapons spending by $75 billion over the next decade.

 Senator Edward J. Markey (Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament - PNND) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer today reintroduced legislation in the U.S. Congress that would cut $75 billion from the nuclear weapons budget over the next decade.

The purpose of the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act is to improve national security and budgetary sanity by cutting redundant and destabilizing nuclear weapons programs.

“The United States should fund education, not annihilation; that is our future,” said Senator Markey. “We need sanity when crafting America’s budget priorities, and more and improved nuclear weapons defies common sense. President Trump wants nothing more than to cut Medicaid, Head Start, and affordable housing programs, but has no problem wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on new nuclear weapons that could undermine deterrence and make us less safe. The SANE Act cuts nuclear weapons and delivery systems that we don’t need so we can invest in the people and programs that will make America safe and prosperous in the future.”

“These disastrous weapons will never be the answer to solving our complex and ever-changing national security threats, especially with a reckless administration in charge of the codes,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “We should not be investing trillions of dollars of our budget on an outdated and irresponsible nuclear arsenal. There are far more important programs and initiatives that will actually help and protect the American people. This legislation will put us on the path towards a safer, nuclear-free future.”

Senator Markey and Rep Blumenauer timed the reintroduction of the legislation to coincide with UN Disarmament Week (October 24-30) and the Count the Nuclear Weapons Money action which is taking place in New York during the week.

'We are counting out one million mock notes totalling $1 trillion, the global nuclear weapons budget for the next ten years, and reallocating this to climate protection, ending poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,' said Alyn Ware, PNND Global Coordinator. 'This action demonstrates the massive wastage of money on nuclear weapons, and actions that people can take to cut nuclear weapons budgets, end investments in nuclear weapons, and shift these to better things.'

Senator Markey's statement for the Count the Nuclear Weapons Money action

What does the SANE Act cut?

The SANE Act will prohibit the fielding of so-called “low-yield” warheads, prohibit space-based missile defense, remove the nuclear mission from the F-35 and will:

  • Reduce the purchase of Columbia-class submarines from 12 to 8, cut the existing ICBM fleet from over 400 to 150, and reduce deployed strategic warheads from approximately 1,500 to 1,000 - saving $13.1 billion
  • Cancel the development of a new air-launched cruise missile and an associated warhead life extension program - saving $13.3 billion
  • Reduce to 80 the purchase of new B-21 long-range bombers - saving $11.6 billion
  • Cancel the development of new ICBMs and a new nuclear warhead - saving $13.6 billion
  • Cancel the development of a new submarine-launched cruise missile - saving $9 billion
  • Limit the plutonium pit production target to 30 per year - saving $9 billion
  • Prohibit funding for a nuclear processing facility - saving $2.6 billion
  • Retire the B83-1 megaton bomb as previously planned - saving $4.4 billion

Who supports the SANE Act

The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The House bill has eight co-sponsors.

The legislation is endorsed by Ploughshares Fund, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Peace Action, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Global Security Institute, and the World Future Council.

“The United States maintains a larger and more diverse nuclear arsenal than is required to deter and respond to a nuclear attack against itself or its allies. The planned spending to maintain and replace the arsenal, which could approach $2 trillion over the next 30 years, will pose a significant affordability problem, and threaten other national security priorities,” said Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, the Arms Control Association. “The SANE Act illustrates the many options that could be pursued to save taxpayer dollars by trimming, delaying or cancelling new weapons programs, while still maintaining a formidable nuclear force capable of deterring any nuclear adversary. We urge Congress to pursue a more cost effective and commonsense strategy.”

“The Trump administration is planning to spend trillions of dollars to rebuild the US nuclear arsenal without stopping to ask the obvious question: with the Cold War over long ago, do we still need it all? In fact, we do not, and by weeding out the most dangerous weapons—such as new ICBMs—we can be safer and save money,” said Tom Z. Collina, Director of Policy, the Ploughshares Fund. I congratulate Senator Markey for introducing this bill and focusing national attention on this crucial debate.”

“As the SANE Act demonstrates, there are ample opportunities to craft a revised nuclear modernization plan that better reflects the shifting strategic priorities and evolution of threats facing the United States,” said Caroline Dorminey, Policy Director, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND). “With defense budgets skyrocketing and a bow wave of costs bearing down on the Pentagon in upcoming years, now is the time for hard choices. Senator Markey, Representative Blumenauer, and cosponsors offer a clear alternative that will keep Americans safe without wasting their tax dollars on weapon systems that serve our past, not our future.”

"Senator Markey once again shows his long-time leadership on keeping the world safe from possible annihilation by nuclear weapons by reintroducing the SANE Act,” said Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director, Policy and Political Affairs, Peace Action. “This legislation (named after our predecessor organization, SANE/Freeze) would bring sanity to ridiculous spending on nuclear weapons and allow the U.S. to invest in other security needs like solving the climate crisis.”

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