ACT TODAY to Cut the Nuclear Weapons Budget
September 7, 2011
Marylia Kelley / Tri-Valley CAREs
Today, September 6, the Senate Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee is deciding how much money should go to nuclear weapons. The House earlier cut funding for a new plutonium bomb plant. If built, this plant would enable the US to increase the number of plutonium bomb cores it produces from 20 per year up to 80 per year. We do not need more plutonium bomb cores! Contact the Senate and demand that budget cuts start with nuclear weapons!
LIVERMORE, California (September 6, 2011) -- I am writing to ask you to take one quick action THIS WEEK to help prevent more funding for horrific nuclear weapons and the new bomb plants that will produce them.
Here's why your action now is so important.
As you read this, the Senate Appropriations Committee is considering how much money the United States will spend on nuclear weapons programs in the coming year.
Today, Tuesday, September 6, the Senate Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee is "marking up" (literally, writing) its bill to say how much money should go to nuclear weapons. This subcommittee is chaired by California Senator, Dianne Feinstein. Calls from her CA constituents are PARTICULARLY important at this time.
Next, the bill will go to from the subcommittee to the full Appropriations Committee, which is chaired by Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI). Then, generally speaking, the nuclear weapons spending bill goes to the Floor of the Senate. The sooner you call, email or write to Senator Feinstein and other key Senate offices, the better chance you will have of influencing the outcome!
Here are some "talking points" and resources to help you craft your message, followed by contact information.
The Fiscal Year 2012 budget request for the Dept. of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) nuclear weapons activities is $7.63billion. After accounting for inflation, this is 21 percent more than Ronald Reagan's largest nuclear weapons budget and 19 percent more than George H.W. Bush's highest spending level for the same programs. That these Republican Presidents were comfortable with much lower spending levels to maintain what was then a much larger nuclear arsenal is one indication of just how insanely EXCESSIVE this year's budget request really is.
The House of Representatives Fiscal Year 2012 budget bill for nuclear weapons spending has already been completed - and the House CUT a half a billion dollars out of the NNSA request for nuclear weapons activities. Specifically, the House cut funding for a new plutonium bomb plant (called the CMRR-Nuclear Facility), which is being planned for the Los Alamos Lab in New Mexico.
This plant, if built, would enable the US to increase the number of plutonium bomb cores it could produce each and every year (from the current limit of 20/year up to 80/year). We do not need more plutonium bomb cores! Tell the Senate to, at a minimum, sustain the House cut to the CMRR-Nuclear Facility. (Yes, right now the Senate is considering putting that rancid piece of nuclear pork into its bill with full funding! Your call is needed now!)
Similarly, the House of Representatives Fiscal Year 2012 budget bill cut funding for an experimental MOX (mixed oxide fuel) facility planned for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
The "mixed" in the term mixed oxide fuel refers to the plutonium that would be added to uranium fuel rods for nuclear power plants. You may recall that some of the fuel rods in Fukushima Reactor #3 contained MOX, adding additional long-lived plutonium to the site's tragic, and still ongoing, consequences. Tell the Senate to cut the funding for MOX out of its spending bill.
In addition, the NNSA Fiscal Year 2012 budget request being considered now by the Senate Appropriations Energy & Water Subcommittee and full Appropriations Committee contains a smorgasbord of nuclear weapons projects that deserve to be cut.
For details, check Tri-Valley CAREs' 8-page program-by-program analysis of the budget request for nuclear weapons activities at http://www.trivalleycares.org/new/reports.html.
Our report, written by Dr. Robert Civiak, a former budget examiner for nuclear weapons programs at the White House Office of Management and Budget, contains recommendations for more than $1 billion in immediate cuts and adjustments that can and should be made.
Will you do your part to demand that the Senate cut nuclear weapons (rather than, for example, human services)? Here is the contact information you will need.
1. Contact Senator Dianne Feinstein at 331 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510. Better yet, call her office at (202) 224-3841 or send her email through her web site at http://feinstein.senate.gov/public.
If you are a CA resident, please be sure to say so. And, also, ask her to write back to you telling you what action she takes on your request!
2. Contact Senator Daniel Inouye at 722 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510 or call his office at (202) 224-3934. Or, email him at http://inouye.senate.gov/home. Be sure to say that you are contacting him because he is Chair of the Appropriations Committee and you want to weigh in on the nuclear weapons appropriations bill currently being considered. (If a busy office staff person gives you the number for his committee staff - it's actually a good sign, please do make that follow up phone call.)
3. If you are a California resident, also contact Senator Barbara Boxer with the same budget message at 112 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510, or call her at (202) 224-3553. Or send her email via her web site.
In all cases, please email or phone if you can. Postal mail can take a long time before it gets to the Senator.
My co-workers and I at Tri-Valley CAREs are tracking nuclear weapons -- and the nuclear weapons budget -- for the coming year and for the long haul. We will continue to keep you informed and to give you the heads-up at timely junctures, like today, when your voice can be most effective.
And, I want to say THANK YOU for everything you do to stop nuclear weapons and promote peace, justice and a healthy environment. Together, we are making a positive difference!
Marylia Kelley is the Executive Director of Tri-Valley CAREs
P.S. Here is an "extra credit" assignment: As you are likely aware, a "super-committee" of 12 members of Congress (6 Senators and 6 Representatives) has been tasked with cutting $1.5 trillion dollars in future spending. While this process is, to say the least, rife with pitfalls, it is moving forward. Thus, it offers an opportunity/challenge for us to insist that military spending, including the nuclear weapons programs of the Dept. of Energy (DOE) NNSA and the Dept. of Defense (DoD),be put on the chopping block.
So, in addition to the absolutely time-critical calls and emails I am asking you to send TODAY, if you have additional time in the near term, please also request that your Senators and your Representative contact their colleagues on the "super committee" with the message that nuclear weapons programs such as the ones listed above are the right place to find long-term budget savings.
FYI, here is the "super committee" membership list.
Murray (co-chair, D-WA), Baucus (D-MT), Kerry (D-MA), Kyl (R-AZ), Toomey (R-PA), Portman (R-OH).
Hensarling (co-chair, R-TX), Camp (R-MI), Upton (R-MI), Clyburn (D-SC), Bacerra (D-CA), Van Hollen (D-MD). (Additional events are posted on our web site.)
Tri-Valley CAREs -- Stopping nuclear weapons where they start.
2582 Old First Street, Livermore, CA 94551. Ph. 925-443-7148
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