The frenzy to influence the super committee and their deficit reduction proposal is in full swing.
Kicking it off with a bang, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) held a press conference yesterday to present the letter he wrote to the 12 members of the super committee: “Freeze the Nukes, Fund the Future.” The letter has been signed by 65 Representatives who agree with Rep. Markey that substantial cuts to the bloated nuclear weapons budget must be part of the plan to reduce the deficit.
The letter begins:
The Berlin Wall fell. The Soviet Union crumbled. The Cold War ended. Yet 20 years later, we continue to spend over $50 billion a year on the U.S. nuclear arsenal. This makes no sense. These funds are a drain on our budget and a disservice to the next generation of Americans. We are robbing the future to pay for the unneeded weapons of the past. Now is the time to stop fighting last century’s war. Now is the time to reset our priorities. Now is the time to invest in the people and the programs to get America back on track.
Sounded pretty good to us. So, Peace Action West teamed up with Markey’s office and dozens of other organizations to email and call other representatives, urging them to join the letter. Go teamwork!
Rep. Markey also had an op-ed published in the influential Capitol Hill paper Politico on Monday:
The United States is the financial caretaker for 5,000 nuclear warheads. Some sit entombed in silos, invisible monuments to apocalyptic scenarios never realized. Others roam the sea, where, at any given time, 12 Trident submarines cruise, each armed with 96 nuclear weapons. A single submarine is capable of destroying all of Russia and China’s major cities, even though there is no clear and present reason to do so. The entire U.S. nuclear arsenal could destroy the world five times over.
The congressional supercommittee was established to make recommendations for at least $1.2 trillion in cuts to our federal deficit. In the next few weeks, the panel is due to finalize its plan to put America back on a sound financial footing. Our outdated bombs must serve as the “nuclear option” — we can cut at least $20 billion per year from the $50 billion nuclear weapons budget, or $200 billion over the next 10 years.
Now it’s up to the super committee to listen to the members of Congress, national security experts, and millions of Americans who support these cuts, rather than the well-funded defense industry.
You can see the full text of the letter and all 65 signers here.