“It leaves our country with enough nuclear warheads to blow any attacker to Kingdom Come.” – Lamar Alexander
“The president has committed to an $85 billion, 10-year plan to make sure these weapons work. The Treaty allows for inspection of Russian warheads. Our military leaders say it does nothing to interfere with development of our missile defense system. The last six Republican secretaries of state support the Treaty.” – Lamar Alexander
WASHINGTON,Deceber 21 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said he would vote to ratify the New START Treaty between the U.S. and Russia, saying, “Americans are safer and more secure with the Treaty than without it.”
This week Alexander and three other senators sent a letter to President Obama asking that the president, first, include funding for nuclear modernization in his budget requests to Congress. Yesterday the president sent a letter of agreement in response.
In remarks on the Senate floor this morning, Alexander said:
“I have reviewed the plan that calls for spending $85 billion over the next ten years on nuclear modernization. I have visited our outdated nuclear weapons facilities. I am convinced that the plan’s implementation will make giant steps toward modernization of those facilities so that we – and our allies and adversaries – can be assured that the weapons will work if needed. The president’s statement that he will ask for these funds and the support of senior members of the Senate Appropriations Committee means that the plan is more likely to become a reality. This will make sure the United States is not left with a collection of wet matches.”
Alexander said that under the terms of the Treaty, the United States:
- will have up to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons, “each one up to 30 times more powerful than the one used at Hiroshima to end World War II”; and
- will gain valuable data, including through inspection operations “that should provide a treasure trove of intelligence about Russian activities that we would not have without the treaty – and that we have not had since the START treaty expired on December 9, 2009.”
This week’s letter to the president was signed by Senators Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the chairman and ranking Republican member of the Appropriations Committee, and also by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Alexander, who are members of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, which funds nuclear weapons modernization through its annual appropriations bills.