Senator Ed Markey introduces the SANE Act during the PNND Assembly

Senator Ed Markey, Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) introduced a bill into the U.S. Senate on Friday 28 February, that would cut $100 billion over the next decade from the U.S. nuclear weapons budget. The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures, or “SANE” Act, is co-sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley. Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Representative Earl Blumenauer.

The SANE Act is similar to one Markey introduced into the House of Representatives in 2012, before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

“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,” Markey said as he announced the bill at a crowded reception in the historic Kennedy Caucus Room held on the occasion of the 2014 PNND Assembly.

“We need to stop pouring billions into the nuclear weapons programs of the past and instead prioritize our nation’s 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 The SANE Act will cut spending on outdated, wasteful nuclear weapons and related programs over the next ten years and will strengthen our long-term economic and national security” said Senator Markey.

Specifically, the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act will:

  • Reduce deployed strategic submarines from 14 to 8 and reduce the purchase of replacement submarines from 12 to 8 – saving $16 billion.
  • Cut warhead life extension programs and defer the development of new ICBMs – saving $15 billion.
  • Remove the nuclear mission from F-35s and delay the new long range bomber – saving over $32 billion.
  • Cancel nuclear weapon making facilities and missile defense programs – saving $37 billion.

Programs to modernize various nuclear warheads would be done away with under the bill, and work would be delayed on a new class of intercontinental ballistic missiles, resulting in an estimated $15 billion in taxpayer dollars. The legislation would ax all missile-defense activities, and cancel plans to build new facilities for fissile-material processing in order to cut an additional $37 billion.

“As we’ve seen in recent stories, the human beings who control [nuclear weapons] can be unreliable,” Blumenauer said in a statement included in the Markey release. He apparently was referring to recent scandals surrounding the Air Force’s nuclear-missile mission, which have highlighted a number of problems with professionalism and morale inside the officer corps assigned to control the ICBMs.

The PNND reception at which Senator Markey announced the SANE Act featured Karipbek Kuyukov (Honorary Ambassador of the ATOM Project) along with Senator Markey, Kazakhstan Ambassador Kairat Umarov, Jonathan Granoff (President of the Global Security Institute) and Alyn Ware (PNND Global Coordinator) as speakers.

“It is my mission to be one of the last to suffer from nuclear testing,” Karipbek, a 2nd generation victim of Soviet nuclear tests who was born without arms, said of his desire to spare future generations from the horrors (birth defects, physical deformity, premature death) of nuclear weapons. The reception also featured an exhibition of the art of Karipbek who paints with his mouth and feet (See Nuclear Fallout Colors Pro-Test-Ban Artist’s Memories, in Roll Call which is distributed to every U.S. Congressional office).

The PNND Assembly brought parliamentarians from around the world to Washington to highlight the humanitarian imperative to abolish nuclear weapons, and to build cooperation with U.S. legislators and arms control advocates to achieve a nuclear weapons free world.

See: Markey and Merkley Introduce Legislation to Cut Bloated Nuclear Weapons Budget

‘U.S. taxpayers can save about $100 billion over next 10 years’

A legislation is introduced by two champions of a safer and more secure world, Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Earl Blumenauer. Their bills — S. 2070, the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act and H.R.4107, the Reduce Expenditures in Nuclear Infrastructure Now (REIN-IN) Act — would save U.S. taxpayers about $100 billion over ten years by scaling down, delaying, or canceling a variety of nuclear weapons programs and facilities.

There are two ways to get involved:

Five years ago, President Obama announced our nation’s commitment to working toward a world without nuclear weapons.  He said,

So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons… It will take patience and persistence …We have to insist, “Yes, we can.”

In the next decade, the United States will spend $570 billion dollars on sustaining, upgrading, and cleaning up the environmental impact from these weapons, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. For economic and national security reasons, the United States needs a different approach.

The SANE and REIN-IN Acts would put us one step closer to fulfilling the promise we made five years ago by investing in ‘we, the people’ instead of our capacity for destruction.

Global Day of Action on Military Spending – Cut the Nukes!

On the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (April 14) call on governments and parliaments to cut the funding for Nukes!

Approximately US$100 billion per year is spent on nuclear weapons and their delivery systems (See Global Zero: The cost of nukes). These resources are sorely needed for education, health, job creation, environmental protection (including preventing climate change) and supporting sustainable development. Nuclear weapons spending thus impacts negatively on all countries and the world as a whole – not only the ones with nuclear weapons programs.

What would you choose to spend the nuclear weapons budget on? Make your choice at Cut Nukes not…

Non-nuclear countries:

  • Urge your governments and parliaments to call on the nuclear weapons countries to reduce nuclear weapons spending and redirect this funding towards sustainable development. An example is the resolution adopted in the Bangladesh Parliament introduced by PNND Co-President Saber Chowdhury, on 5 April 2010 (anniversary of President Obama’s Prague Speech), noting that “that the $100 billion spent annually on nuclear weapons should be channelled instead towards meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals as well as the urgent climate change adaption funding needs of the most vulnerable countries.”
  • Call on your governments and parliaments to divest public funds from any nuclear weapons corporations as New Zealand and Norway did a few years ago (See Nuclear Divestment), and Switzerland has done more recently with the Federal Act on War Materials;
  • Encourage friends and colleagues to ‘Don’t bank on the Bomb’.

Nuclear armed countries:

  • Encourage your parliamentarians to cut the budgets for nuclear weapons. Examples:

o   USA: Get your congressperson to support the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE Act), introduced into the Senate by PNND Co-President Ed Markey, co-sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley. Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Representative Earl Blumenauer;

o   UK – Encourage your parliamentarian to support the Early Day Motion on cost of the Trident replacement (£25billion) calling on the government to scrap such plans.

The background to the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act introduced into the US Senate by Senator Ed Markey, Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament can be found  at Senator Ed Markey introduces the SANE Act during the PNND Assembly.

 

Other background on nuclear weapons spending:

  • Arms Down Campaign: In 2009, over 20 million youth endorsed the Religions for Peace Arms Down Campaign statement, calling for a ban on nuclear weapons and redirection of 10% of the world’s military budget (a little bit more than the nuclear weapons budget) to meeting UN Millennium Development Goals.

Nobel laureate wants India to cut military spending

Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sanchez today emphasised the need to cut military spending by nations including India so that more money could be spent on development, education and health.

“The world is spending 1.75 trillion dollars on arms and ammunition. Poor countries of the world do not need to spend that much. India is one of the biggest importers of arms. There is need to cut the military spending by all the countries,” he said.

“However, neither exporters nor importers of arms want to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty that seeks to regulate the international trade in arms,” he said during a meeting with Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan at Raj Bhavan here.

Sanchez, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1987 for his efforts to achieve a lasting peace in Central America, is currently on a visit to India under the Distinguished Visitors’ Programme. The visit is being hosted by Indian Council for Cultural Relations of the Union Ministry of External Affairs.

Sanchez told the Governor that he had introduced the Arms Trade Treaty in the United Nations in 2009.

He rued that only 11 governments out of 80 had ratified the Treaty, and added that it would come into force only if it was ratified by 50 states, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

Costa Rica, which has a population of 4.5 million, does not have its own army, Sanchez said while he was all praise for India’s democracy.

Click here to read the complete article published in Business Standard, India.

War Resisters’ Stories, March 2014: Support our work countering the militarisation of youth

War resisters’ International has published the March 2014 edition of Newsletter titled War Resisters’ stories. It features their new campaign that is launched to crowdfund for the next stage of their work countering the militarisation of youth. The other articles in this edition are

- 14 April: Global Day of Action on Military Spending

- The movement for Druze refusers in Israel

- Insumisión: 25 years of disobedience

- Nonviolent resistance in USA, Belgium, Britain

Click here to read the complete stories.