The House on Wednesday adopted an amendment to the 2015 national defense authorization that would keep intercontinental-range ballistic missiles in warm status past 2021.

"Warm" status means that the missiles will be kept empty but still capable of future active use.

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The proposal, adopted 222-196, would strike a provision of the defense authorization that would terminate the requirement in 2021 that the missiles remain in at least warm status. The amendment would ensure that the U.S. keeps the missiles in the state past 2021.

"First and foremost, we don't know what the future holds and whether it will be in our strategic and security interests to shut down some of our silos 7 years from now," said amendment sponsor Rep. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesHillicon Valley: DHS gets new cyber chief | White House warns lawmakers not to block ZTE deal | White nationalists find home on Google Plus | Comcast outbids Disney for Fox | Anticipation builds for report on FBI Clinton probe McConnell will ask Cornyn to stay on GOP leadership team Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback MORE (R-Mont.), who is running for Senate.

But Rep. Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithDem congresswoman: Imprisoned asylum-seeking women have no idea where their children are Overnight Defense: Latest on scrapped Korea summit | North Korea still open to talks | Pentagon says no change in military posture | House passes 6B defense bill | Senate version advances House easily passes 7B defense authorization bill MORE (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said that the amendment would micromanage Defense Department decisions about the nation's nuclear weapons.

"DOD should not be forced into a position of saying if a silo exists it has to be maintained forever, which is basically what this amendment says," Smith said.

Heritage Action, an influential conservative group, urged lawmakers to support the amendment to maintain the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

"All other nuclear powers are increasing the size of their arsenals. Maintaining ICBM silos warm would allow the U.S. to maintain flexibility to respond to unexpected strategic developments in a shorter time frame than if the U.S. had to rebuild the silos," Heritage Action's key vote alert reads.