U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the formal inauguration of the U.S.-Russia nuclear cooperation agreement and announced that she will be introducing legislation to reform the Atomic Energy Act to ensure that countries of proliferation concern or those that are assisting the nuclear and missile programs of rogue regimes are not rewarded with nuclear cooperation agreements:
"The U.S.-Russia nuclear cooperation agreement that went into effect this week never got a vote in Congress. The Atomic Energy Act must be reformed so that these far-reaching and potentially dangerous agreements are required to receive an up-or-down vote in Congress before going into effect.
"Russia did not deserve such a concession from the U.S. given its ongoing support for Iran's nuclear program. Even now Russia is preparing to bring the Bushehr nuclear plant on line. It continues to shield Iran from U.S. and international sanctions and take other actions that undermine U.S. interests around the world, such as selling weapons to Syria and signing a nuclear cooperation agreement with the Burmese regime, which is a North Korea nuclear partner.
"If Congress had had an opportunity to vote on the U.S.-Russia nuclear cooperation pact, I believe that a clear bipartisan majority would have voted to stop it. Members on both sides of the aisle remain very concerned about the proliferation and other dangers of this agreement.
"The Obama administration offered this lucrative deal to Moscow as part of its "reset' of relations with Russia. Other major concessions include the recently ratified START agreement that places dangerous limits on U.S. missile defense, the revision of plans for missile defenses in Europe to accommodate spurious Russian demands, and the lifting of sanctions on Russian firms assisting Iran.
"The Obama and Bush administrations simply brushed aside the strong bipartisan concerns about this agreement. That is why I will soon introduce legislation to reform the Atomic Energy Act to require Congressional approval of future agreements, as well as a presidential certification to Congress that a number of requirements have been met and documentation that the agreement will advance U.S. interests."