Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

A billowing white mushroom cloud, mottled with orange, pushes through a layer of clouds during Operation Ivy, the first test of a hydrogen bomb

A billowing white mushroom cloud, mottled with orange, pushes through a layer of clouds during Operation Ivy, the first test of a hydrogen bomb, at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

Groups to US: Take Money for 'Dangerous and Outdated' Nuclear Bomb and Vaccinate the World Instead

"The pandemic has made abundantly clear that our most urgent threats can not be solved by pouring more money into weapons of war."

Andrea Germanos

Dozens of organizations on Monday urged U.S. lawmakers to stop sustaining a "dangerous and outdated" nuclear bomb program and instead reallocate $98 million to life-saving global Covid-19 vaccine production efforts.

"The pandemic has made abundantly clear that our most urgent threats can not be solved by pouring more money into weapons of war," the groups, including Public Citizen and Council for a Livable World, wrote in a letter to senators.

"Vaccinating the global population is in the obvious interest of our security."

The weapon at issue in the new letter is the B83 nuclear bomb, which the groups call "a Cold War relic." The biggest nuke in the U.S. stockpile, it's capable of "immense collateral damage," the groups wrote, "as just one of these weapons yields nearly half of all the explosives used in World War II, including both atomic bombs."

The Obama-Biden administration slated the megaton-class B83 gravity bomb for retirement, with the B61-12, which has a lower explosive yield and less radioactive fallout, as a replacement. The Trump administration, however, reversed that retirement decision.

The Biden-Harris administration then went further with a proposal to massively boost funding for the B83.

"Indefinitely sustaining this weapon will only become more expensive as it continues to age," the letter states, urging Congress to "seize this opportunity to retire the weapon from the stockpile, thus freeing up valuable taxpayer dollars to meet true human needs."

In stark contrast to maintaining the weaponry, the letter says, "vaccinating the global population is in the obvious interest of our security."

The diversion of funds could also address "a global vaccine apartheid," by contributing to the World Health Organization's Covid-19 vaccine hub and efforts to ramp up production facilities in low- and middle-income countries as well as distribution efforts.

To take this "straightforward" step, the groups are calling on senators to support an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 that was submitted this month by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Their proposal calls for "reallocation of funding for B83 gravity bomb life extension to support global vaccine production capacity."

According to a Sunday "dear colleague" letter from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate could consider the NDAA this week.

Public Citizen is also calling on its supporters to sign a petition urging senators to back the Merkley-Warren amendment and divert the $98 million slated for the B83 program to global vaccine access efforts instead.

"The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic," the group declared, "is a public health and national security threat that can't be fought with guns or tanks or nuclear weapons."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Scientists to BlackRock Vice Chairman: New Fossil Fuel Development 'Incompatible' With 1.5°C

"The only responsible course of action is to do everything in our power to stop fossil fuel expansion and further emissions."

Jessica Corbett ·


Goldman Prize Awarded to Activists Who Showed Nature's 'Amazing Capability to Regenerate'

"While the many challenges before us can feel daunting, and at times make us lose faith, these seven leaders give us a reason for hope and remind us what can be accomplished in the face of adversity."

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders Call for Federal Election Monitors in Georgia to Protect Black Voters

"It is imperative that our election this November is monitored to preserve ballot integrity and ensure ballot security."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Inaction Is Bought': Here Are the Receipts on NRA's Purchase of GOP

"The issue is money in politics," said Nina Turner after the nation's latest mass killing of students and teachers. Right-wing lawmakers are "allowing children to die because of the gun lobby."

Kenny Stancil ·


'This Is on You!' Beto Interrupts Abbott Press Conference on Texas Massacre

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke accused Texas' GOP leaders of "doing nothing and offering us nothing" in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo