House votes to limit Obama on nuclear-weapons reductions, cooperation with Russia

Republicans took that as a sign that Obama would weaken plans for a missile defense system in Europe to satisfy Russia, and as a further indication that the president might act to reduce the capacity of the United States to wage nuclear war. After Obama's open-microphone gaffe, he reiterated that he does support a smaller American nuclear arsenal.

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In debate early Friday morning, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) brought forward an amendment that prohibits the president from making unilateral reductions to U.S. nuclear weapons, and cited Obama's comments to Medvedev as the reason for his amendment. Price's amendment was approved 241-179, and was supported by eight Democrats.

Shortly after that, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) brought forward his language to limit the availability of funds for nuclear nonproliferation activities with the Russian Federation until the government confirms that Russia has taken steps to reduce weapons proliferation. That language passed in a 241-181 vote.

In the same series of votes, the House turned away two nuclear-related amendments from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) that went the other way. One of these would have required the secretary of Defense to report by early 2013 on whether nuclear-weapon reductions are in the national-security interests of the United States. That amendment failed, 175-245.

Johnson's other amendment would add a finding to the bill that the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea would destabilize the region, but the House voted it down, 160-261.