Blumenauer Introduces Bill to Reduce Nuclear Arsenal Spending

Congressman Earl Blumenauer introduced the Reduce Expenditures in Nuclear Investments Now (REIN-IN) Act of 2014. The bill would save $100 billion over the next 10 years by reducing or eliminating unnecessary nuclear weapons programs.  Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate, the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act, S 2070.

Today, the United States spends more for nuclear weapons and programsthan it did at the height of the Cold War.  A recent report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that between 2014 and 2023, the costs of the Administration’s plans for nuclear forces will total $470 billion.  Other ten year estimates come closer to $700 billion, which is more than the federal government will spend on education over the next five years. Worse, there are plans in the works that would commit the U.S. to decades more of waste by spending billions of dollars modernizing our nuclear stockpile of missiles, submarines, and bombers.

Specifically, the REIN-IN Act will generate savings from:

Sea: $15.7 billion in savings. 

  • Cut the current fleet of nuclear submarines from 12 operational at sea to eight operational at sea.
  • Delay the purchase of new nuclear submarines, and reduce future procurement from 12 to 8.
  • Reduce the number of ICBMs.

Air: $37.45 billion in savings. 

  • Delay development of the Long-Range Strike Bomber. 
  • Eliminate funding to make the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter nuclear-capable. 
  • Reduce the size and scope of the B-61 Life Extension Program.

Land: $10 billion in savings. 

  • Delay development of the Future ICBM.
  • Eliminate funding for the W-78 Life Extension Program.

Other: $36.5 billion in savings. 

  • Cancel new, wasteful nuclear weapons facilities.
  • Cancel the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).
  • Increases Americans’ safety by cutting the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles currently on 24-hour high alert from 450 to 150.

“We cannot afford these weapon systems and we don’t need them,” said Blumenauer. “They are dangerous and costly to store and maintain.  As we’ve seen in recent stories, the human beings who control them can be unreliable. We can make the world, and our country, safer by reducing the number of ICBMs on 24-hour high alert and reducing spending on these programs that we haven’t used in 69 years and are better suited for the Cold War than the strategic challenges we face today.”

“America faces a real choice: spend billions on nuclear weapons we no longer need or fund programs that educate our children and help find cures to deadly diseases. The security of our nation’s future will be ensured by investing in education not nuclear annihilation,” said Markey. “We need to stop pouring billions into the nuclear weapons programs of the past and instead prioritize our nation’s most pressing needs. The SANE Act will cut spending on outdated, wasteful nuclear weapons and related programs over the next ten years and will strengthen our long-term economic and national security.”

The current nuclear arsenal of the United States includes approximately 5,000 total nuclear warheads, of which approximately 2,000 are deployed with three delivery components: long-range strategic bomber aircraft, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The bomber fleet of the United States comprises 93 B–52 and 20 B–2 aircraft. The United States maintains 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The United States also maintains Ohio-class submarines, up to 12 of which are deployed at sea at any time.

The full text of the bill is attached. Congressman Blumenauer’s essay on the bill is here.

The REIN-IN Act is Supported by:

Alliance of Baptists on the Interfaith Committee on Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control Association, Church of the Brethren, Citizens for Global Solutions, Colorado Coalition for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Cumberland Countians for Peace & Justice, DC Statehood Green Party, Franciscan Action Network, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Georgia WAND, Global Green USA (US affiliate of Green Cross International), Global Security Institute and Bipartisan Security Group, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, National Council of Churches of Christ, USA, Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility of United Church of Christ, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Ploughshares Fund, Project on Government Oversight (POGO), Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Tri-Valley CAREs, Women's Action for New Directions.

Contributions to this campaign are not tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes.