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Senator Elizabeth Warren Leads Senate Fight to Stop Deployment of “Low-Yield” Nuclear Weapons

You may have been following PSR’s updates on recent developments in the House of Representatives regarding zeroing out funding for so-called “low-yield” nuclear weapons. Thanks to the great leadership of House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith (WA), the House voted to zero out funding for low-yield nukes.

Now, the fight is in the Senate.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) is leading the call in the Senate to ban deployment of low-yield nuclear missiles and extend the vital New START Treaty in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senator Warren and 17 of her Senate colleagues sent a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James M. Inhofe (OK) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (RI) urging them to include three key nuclear weapons provisions in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. The letter is intended to influence the Senate conferees in the House-Senate NDAA Conference, which is expected to wrap up by September 27.

The letter’s co-signers include Senators Tammy Baldwin, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Benjamin Cardin, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Mazie Hirono, Amy Klobuchar, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Patty Murray, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schatz, Chris Van Hollen, and Ron Wyden.

Senator Reed, the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, will play a pivotal role on the Senate side in the conference. Read PSR’s letter to Senator Reed here.

The press statement released by Sen. Warren’s office notes, “The provisions, which were included in the House-passed NDAA, would ban the deployment of the W76-2 low-yield nuclear warhead, urge the Trump Administration to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), and prevent an arms race by denying funding for certain types of intermediate-range nuclear missiles following the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.”

“This warhead is a dangerous, costly, unnecessary, and redundant addition to the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” the senators wrote in their letter. “The W76-2 would reduce the threshold for nuclear use and make nuclear escalation more likely.”

PSR applauds Sen. Warren and her colleagues for their commitment to support renewal of New START, prohibit funding for intermediate-range weapons, and especially to ban deployment of low-yield nuclear weapons. It is urgent that the Senate support the House in voting to stop funding for deployment of the W76-2. There are no “small” nuclear weapons, and there is no such thing as a “small” nuclear war.

Read more about low-yield nuclear missiles via PSR’s fact sheet.