Sen. Cotton thwarted in push to limit Obama's nuclear disarmament

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonThis week: Trump delivers State of the Union amid immigration fight Ingraham: White House yanked immigration plan defense from show After shutdown surrender, why should progressives ever trust Chuck Schumer again? MORE was thwarted on Wednesday in an attempt to limit the Obama administration's ability to reduce the nation’s stockpile of nuclear warheads.

The Arkansas Republican's proposed amendment to a defense policy bill would have capped the administration's spending on dismantling old or obsolete nuclear weapons to $50 million per year for the next five years.

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But Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCoalition of 44 groups calls for passage of drug pricing bill An open letter to the FBI agent who resigned because of Trump Nunes 'memo' drama proves it: Republicans can't govern, they only campaign MORE (D-Calif.) blocked Cotton from getting his change added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would have been the first step to getting it scheduled for a vote.

Feinstein argued that Cotton's amendment would "micromanage" the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees nuclear disarmament.

"It unnecessarily limits the National Nuclear Security Administration's ability to dismantle the retired nuclear weapons that no longer have any role in our national defense," she said.

Feinstein said Cotton's amendment also ignored an extra $4 million approved by the Appropriations Committee.

But Cotton said that his amendment had bipartisan approval and would allow the administration to increase its spending "under certain limited conditions."

"This is the Senate. This is an important issue. We should be debating the matter," he fired back at Feinstein. "We should call it up and make it pending and have a vote on it. Not object to it being brought to the floor to be debated."

Cotton suggested his amendment was needed in the wake of comments from Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryOvernight Cybersecurity: Tillerson proposes new cyber bureau at State | Senate bill would clarify cross-border data rules | Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up breach GOP probes put new focus on State Will FISA secrecy doom democracy? MORE that the administration would accelerate its dismantling of retired nuclear warheads by 20 percent.

He argued the decision "defies logic," adding that "Congress should not give a blank check to engage in disarmament at the time when Vladimir Putin is threatening the United States, and his missiles are shooting civilian aircraft out of the sky in the heart of Europe."