Defense

Dems introduce bill barring US from using nuclear weapons first

A pair of top Democrats in the House and Senate on Wednesday reintroduced a bill to make it U.S. policy not to use nuclear weapons first.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a Senate Armed Services Committee member who is running for president in 2020, and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.).

“Our current nuclear strategy is not just outdated—it is dangerous,” Smith and Warren said in a joint statement Wednesday. “By making clear that deterrence is the sole purpose of our arsenal, this bill would reduce the chances of a nuclear miscalculation and help us maintain our moral and diplomatic leadership in the world.”

The bill, titled the No First Use Act, simply says, “It is the policy of the United States to not use nuclear weapons first.”{mosads}

Smith previously introduced the same bill in November 2017.

A Wednesday press release from Smith’s office argued the bill would improve U.S. national security by reducing the risk of a miscalculation, clarifying U.S. policy and preserving the ability to conduct a nuclear strike after a nuclear attack on the United States or its allies.

It has long been the policy of the United States that the country reserves the right to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

Former President Obama reportedly weighed changing the policy before leaving office, but ultimately did not after advisers argued doing so could embolden adversaries.

Since President Trump has been in office, Democrats have introduced several bills intended to limit his ability to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

On Tuesday, a separate pair of Democrats in the House and Senate reintroduced their bill to limit Trump’s nuclear powers.

The bill from Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) would require congressional approval for Trump to launch a nuclear first strike.

Tags Adam Smith Donald Trump Ed Markey Elizabeth Warren Ted Lieu

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