With a vote of 238 to 162, the U.S. House voted today to pass an amendment introduced by U.S. Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) and Denny Rehberg (R-MT) that places restrictions on the implementation of the New START Treaty between the United States and Russia. The amendment bars the President from decommissioning land-based nuclear missiles and other strategic nuclear weapons under New START unless the treaty also requires Russia to make similar reductions. This will effectively block the New START Treaty, under which the United States will be forced to reduce its arsenal while Russia will be allowed to dramatically expand its own arsenal.
"The New START treaty calls for unilateral arms reduction," Rep. Lummis said. "The fact is, the only country that has to disarm is the United States. Russia can expand its arsenal, deploy unlimited short-range nuclear weapons, and even develop new long-range weapon systems capable of reaching the United States. This treaty is simply a terrible deal for America and Denny's and my amendment will prevent it from moving forward in its current form. "
The U.S. currently deploys over 800 strategic nuclear weapons under the "nuclear triad" composed of nuclear capable bombers, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and land-based, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). A portion of that triad is comprised of 450 ICBMs with 150 missiles each at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana; Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.
The New START Treaty requires the United States to reduce the nuclear triad to 700 weapons by 2018. News reports have also suggested that the President's top advisors at the White House are considering plans to go beyond New START obligations and implement additional reductions of up to 80 percent.