Congressmen Schiff and Meehan Work to Increase Funding for WMD Nonproliferation

By:  Adam Schiff
Date: June 25, 2004
Location: Washington, DC


Congressmen Schiff and Meehan Work
to Increase Funding for WMD Nonproliferation
Lawmakers Proposed Shift of $30 million in Energy Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, DC - (June 25, 2004) Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-29) and Congressman Martin T. Meehan (MA-5) today offered an amendment to the FY 2005 Energy & Water Appropriations bill (H.R. 4614) to add $30 million to the Energy Department's Global Threat Reduction Initiative to secure and dispose of nuclear and radiological materials from around the world. The amendment failed by a vote of 151 to 235. During the House debate, Congressman Schiff remarked:

"The most significant threat to the national security of the United States is the risk that terrorists will acquire the material, the expertise and the technology to create a nuclear weapon. Of these three components… it is the material - highly enriched uranium or plutonium - that has posed the greatest bar to terrorist acquisition of the bomb. And that material is far too easy to obtain…

"We have spent countless billions of dollars on the war in Iraq, a war that was waged to remove stockpiles of WMD from the reach of terrorists. The terrible irony of our present situation is that while we have not found WMD in Iraq, we know where there are large stockpiles of nuclear material and we have a cooperative means of securing them and placing them beyond the reach of terrorists. To scrimp on this effort is worse than negligent; it is a betrayal of the public trust. In this race between cooperation and catastrophe, we must not flag or fail."

In January 2001, the Baker-Cutler Task Force on DOE Nonproliferation Programs with Russia stated that, "The most urgent unmet national security threat to the United States today is the danger that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or weapons-usable materials in Russia could be stolen and sold to terrorists or hostile nation states and used against American troops abroad or citizens at home."

Congressman Schiff has led several Congressional efforts to secure vulnerable stockpiles of weapons materials. In May 2003, he introduced legislation (H.R.2063) to expand the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program to include countries outside the former Soviet Union such as Pakistan, India, North Korea, China, Iran and Iraq. He also joined Congressman John M. Spratt, Jr. (SC-5) in offering an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act in May 2003 to strengthen the United States' efforts to safeguard or destroy weapons of mass destruction and related materials around the world.

Congressman Schiff is the co-founder of the Democratic Study Group on National Security and a member of both the House Judiciary and International Relations committees. He represents California's 29th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena and Temple City.