Modernizing America’s Nuclear Arsenal

Unfortunately, the I-told-you-so moments keep coming.

Heritage Action has been keeping you up to date on issues revolving the New START Treaty, which was ratified during the 2010 lame duck session of Congress. Without any real concessions from Russia, our government began walking down the path of unilateral nuclear disarmament. President Obama promised Senate Republicans he would commit to modernizing our remaining nuclear arsenal.

That promise was the reason so many Republican Senators voted to ratify the treaty, and why many others did not mount an effort to kill it. Unfortunately, like so many other promises from this President, this rang hollow.

Now the administration is blaming the Budget Control Act for this broken promise; and three Senators – Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) – are questioning the administration’s commitment:

“The military risk from these schedule delays may not be manageable for long. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is concerned about the funding cuts that Congress has contemplated. ‘It would be tremendously shortsighted,’ Panetta said last year, ‘if they reduce funds that are absolutely essential for modernization. … If we aren’t staying ahead of it, we jeopardize the security of this country.’

“Kehler echoed Panetta’s worries. ‘I am concerned,’ Kehler said, ‘about our ability to provide for the deployed stockpile and that is my No. 1 concern.’

“Last year’s appropriations cut was influenced by the Budget Control Act because it was enacted after the president’s budget request. But the BCA did not necessitate reductions to the FY2013 request for nuclear weapons activities. The administration’s decision was presumably based on the assumption that Congress was wavering from its original commitment to nuclear modernization. On the contrary, we believe congressional support for nuclear modernization remains strong.”

Senator Ayotte was the only one of the three aforementioned Senators not to be complicit in the New START negotiations and vote against the Budget Control Act,  which the President signed and now demands everyone adhere to. It may sound like a good scapegoat for the President’s broken promise, but if the BCA cut too much funding, why on earth does he want funding included to fight global warming…overseas?

If the President is genuinely worried about lacking the funds for nuclear modernization (we’re about $370 million short of what is needed), we know where he can find an extra $469 million that could be used for more important things – like keeping our nation safe.

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