By a narrow 34-28 margin, Republicans on the House Armed Services committee pushed through a 48-page amendment offered by Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, to the National Defense Authorization Act that would block funding for New START implementation unless higher spending targets for nuclear weapons production facilities set in 2010 are met in future years.This type of partisan “hostage taking” threatens to undermine U.S. national security, and it ignores the fact that there is bi-partisan agreement among congressional appropriators that additional nuclear weapon budget increases are unaffordable and unnecessary.
If Rep. Turner’s provision to tie up New START were to become law, Russia would likely halt its nuclear reductions as well, risking the treaty’s collapse. This would allow Moscow to rebuild its nuclear forces above the treaty ceiling of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and increase the number of nuclear weapons aimed at the U.S.
Moreover, the inspection system established under the treaty could collapse, depriving the U.S. of crucial data exchanges and on-site inspections of Russian forces, undermining transparency and strategic stability. More