WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced two bills aimed at presenting coherent strategies to preserve and build upon the arms control frameworks that constrain Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, and develop a strategic arms control agenda with China around its nuclear arsenals.
“At a time when Russia and China continue to develop and modernize their strategic nuclear arsenals, it is vital the United States maintain and expand the arms control architecture that has constrained the proliferation of these dangerous weapons,” said Menendez. “The fact is the Trump administration has failed to make any progress on arms control issues with both Russia and China, despite its multiple assurances that it would. That is why Congress needs to step in now to legislate a way to maintain a safe, secure, modern, and effective nuclear deterrent.”
The Senator’s complementing legislations come at a pivotal moment for U.S. nuclear deterrence efforts as the Trump administration now faces an upcoming deadline to extend the last remaining arms control agreement, the New START Treaty, which imposes restrictions on Russia’s nuclear arsenal. If the United States fails to extend the New START Treaty, it will be the first time since the 1960’s that Russia’s nuclear arsenal will not be constrained by an international arms control framework.
“Without a firm foundation that constrains our adversaries’ nuclear arsenals, the United States may once again find itself in a costly arms race with little opportunity to reduce nuclear risks with both Russia and China,” added Menendez. “Due to the risks posed by Russia’s and China’s strategic nuclear arsenals, and the Trump administration’s lack on any tangible progress on an arms control dialogue with either country, I am introducing these two bills that I believe charts a stable path forward for constraining our strategic adversaries.”
The Future of Arms Control Act calls for the immediate extension of New START and restricts the President from taking any damaging actions against New START if no decision is made on extension.
The Arms Control with China Policy Act calls for a coordinated policy for dialogue with China on key strategic issues. To reassert Congress’s oversight role, this legislation also mandates that the Secretaries of State and Defense begin presenting to Congress the potential approach for the Administration to engage China on nuclear issues and constrain the possibility of miscalculation.
Click HERE for a copy of the Future of Arms Control Act.
Click HERE for a copy of the Arms Control with China Policy Act.