The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action, 951-217-7285 cell,
Gabe Murphy, Peace Action, 510-501-3345 cell,

Congress Can and Should Restrict the First Use of Nuclear Weapons


In response to Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) re-introducing the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act (H.R. 669 / S. 200), legislation to prevent the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a congressional declaration of war, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, released the following statement:

"The command and control structure of our nation's nuclear weapons represents a massive security liability. No rational person would ever say, 'let's take the most destructive force known to humanity and give one person the authority to unleash it on the world at a moment's notice,' but unfortunately that is the current U.S. policy. Thankfully, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Ted Lieu have authored common-sense legislation to prevent this president, and future presidents, from starting a nuclear war without congressional approval.

"Under the Trump administration, the threat of nuclear war has grown. Trump's Nuclear Posture Review, the new nuclear weapons it calls for, and the new circumstances it lists in which the U.S. might use nuclear weapons are central to this growing threat. Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement despite Iran's verifiable compliance with the accord dealt a devastating blow to U.S. credibility in current and future nuclear negotiations. The administration's impending withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, reflecting its preference for brinkmanship over diplomacy, threatens to revive a whole class of particularly destabilizing nuclear weapons. As the administration's calamitous cocktail of ill-conceived nuclear policies brings us closer to the brink, Congress must pursue every option for stepping us back from that brink. Removing the president's authority to launch a nuclear war without Congress is a simple and effective means of reducing the nuclear threat."

Peace Action is the United States' largest peace and disarmament organization with over 100,000 members and nearly 100 chapters in 34 states, works to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs and encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights.