Eleanor Holmes Norton
On the Introduction of
the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act of 2013
Ms. Norton. Mr. Speaker.
Today, I am introducing the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act of 2013 [HR 1650], a version of which I have introduced since 1994, after working with the District of Columbia residents who were responsible for the Nuclear Disarmament and Economic Conversion ballot initiative passed by D.C. voters in 1993. This version of the bill now requires the United States to negotiate an international agreement to disable and dismantle its nuclear weapons by 2020 and provides for strict control of fissile material and radioactive waste and for use of nuclear-free energy. The bill continues to provide that the funds used for nuclear weapons programs be redirected to human and infrastructure needs, such as housing, health care, Social Security and the environment, and it would take effect when the President certifies to Congress that all countries possessing nuclear weapons have eliminated such weapons. The bill is particularly timely as Congress continues to make cuts to important human and infrastructure programs and as the world confronts concerns about nuclear proliferation to Iran and North Korea.
Following years of dangerous increases in U.S. nuclear capacity during the George W. Bush administration, President Barack Obama has begun to rebuild U.S. credibility with his goal of taking the necessary steps to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. The presidents strong push for the New START treaty in 2010, when Republicans seemed adamant on delaying it, resulted in ratification by the Senate. The treaty requires the two major nuclear powers, Russia and the United States, to continue to reduce nuclear weapons by mutually reducing their nuclear warheads by half and their number of intercontinental ballistic missiles and missile launchers, and, within 60 days of the treaty taking affect, on February 5, 2011, submit to on-site inspections of strategic nuclear weapons facilities by the weapons experts of the other country.
Today, our country has a long list of urgent domestic needs that have been put on the back burner even though millions of Americans have lost their homes and jobs and sequestration has started. As the only nation that has used nuclear weapons in war, and that still possesses the largest nuclear weapons arsenal, I urge support for my bill to help the United States lead the world in redirecting funds that would otherwise go to nuclear weapons to be available for urgent domestic needs.