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Washington (January 26, 2022) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Representatives John Garamendi (CA-03) and Donald S. Beyer (VA-08), co-chairs of the Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group, today led 51 of their colleagues in a letter to President Joe Biden urging the United States to take bold steps to reduce its reliance on nuclear weapons, elevate arms control, and retire former President Donald Trump’s new, unnecessary nuclear weapons in the Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). As tensions continue to mount with Russia over its military buildup on the borders of Ukraine, the lawmakers recommend that the NPR offer the United States’ full support for formal negotiations with Russia, with the express goal of placing mutual limits on the deployment of destabilizing new weapons that only increase the risk of an inadvertent nuclear war. The letter also calls for the U.S. to engage in high-level diplomacy with China to continue negotiating confidence and transparency building measures, and discourage China from massively expanding its strategic forces.

“Your NPR represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that U.S. nuclear doctrine reflects your recognition that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter to President Biden. “As president, you can exercise badly needed leadership in reducing the role, number, and salience of nuclear weapons at home and abroad so that future generations can finally be free from the nuclear sword of Damocles that hangs over all our heads. We urge you to do so.”

The letter urges President Biden to reaffirm his past stated view that the United States does not need to use nuclear weapons first in response to a non-nuclear attack. Additionally, it urges President Biden to cease the deployment of former President Trump’s low-yield W-76(2) warhead on a submarine launched ballistic missile and to stop the further development of a nuclear-armed sea launched cruise missile. The lawmakers also repeat their call for a comprehensive, independent study of whether to pursue the new ground-based strategic deterrent, based on an examination of the cost savings and the technical feasibility of extending the Minuteman III ICBM. 

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

Other Senators signing the letter include Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

Other Members of the House of Representatives signing the letter include Reps. Barbara Lee (CA-13), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Katie Porter (CA-45), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Peter Welch (VT-At Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Dina Titus (NV-01), Andy Levin (MI-09), Grace Meng (NY-06), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), Bill Foster (IL-11), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Mark Takano (CA-41), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), John Yarmuth (KY-03), Karen Bass (CA-37), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (GA-04), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), and Joe Neguse (CO-02).