Wyden, Merkley Warn Against Trump Administration Resuming Explosive Nuclear Testing

Wyden, Merkley Warn Against Trump Administration Resuming Explosive Nuclear Testing

Bicameral group of legislators point out that explosive testing is unnecessary and carries significant risks to United States’ national security

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and U.S. Representative Bill Foster, D-Ill., today led a bicameral group of 80 other colleagues including U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. in urging Donald Trump not to resume explosive nuclear testing after a 28-year hiatus. This letter comes in response to reports indicating the administration is considering taking this step.

In a letter to Trump, the legislators wrote, “We are deeply concerned by recent reports that you are considering a resumption of explosive nuclear testing, something the U.S. has not done since 1992.  We urge you in the strongest terms to reject this awful idea both because it is technically unnecessary and because it would represent a dangerous provocation.”

The legislators noted that the United States moved from explosive nuclear testing to an annual assessment process through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program (SSMP). Both Republican and Democratic administrations have supported and strengthened the SSMP because the program has scientifically expanded the nation’s knowledge of nuclear weapons while remaining both safe and secure.

The legislators continued, “A return to nuclear testing is not only scientifically and technically unnecessary but also dangerously provocative. It would signal to the world that the U.S. no longer has confidence in the safety, security, and effectiveness of our nuclear weapons.  It would needlessly antagonize important allies, cause other countries to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, and prompt adversaries to respond in kind—risking a new nuclear arms race and further undermining the global nonproliferation regime. None of these developments would improve America’s national security or strengthen its position in the world.” 

Joining Wyden, Merkley and Foster in sending this letter were U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Chris Coons, D-Del., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Brian Schatz D-Hawaii, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Reps. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., Jim McGovern, D-Mass., Danny Davis, D-Ill., Steven Horsford, D-Nev., Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., Bobby Rush, D-Ill., Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., Gwen Moore, D-Wisc., Juan Vargas, D-Calif., Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, Mike Quigley, D-Ill., Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., Jim Langevin, D-R.I., Ro Khanna, D-Calif., Rick Larsen, D-Wash., Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., David Cicilline, D-R.I., Gil Cisneros, D-Calif., Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, Dina Titus, D-Nev., Don Beyer, D-Va., Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Ben McAdams, D-Utah, Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., Ted Lieu, D-Calif., Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Ami Bera, D-Calif., Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J., André Carson, D-Ind., Mike Doyle, D-Pa., Betty McCollum, D-Minn., Peter Welch, D-Mass., Hank Johnson, D-Ga., Andy Levin, D-Mich., Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Angie Craig, D-Minn., Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Nydia Velázquez, D-P.R., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Jason Crow, D-Colo., Julia Brownley, D-Calif., Salud O. Carbajal, D-Calif., Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, Jesús G. “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., Denny Heck, D-Wash., Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., Susie Lee, D-Nev., Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., Dean Phillips, D-Minn., Mark Pocan, D-Wisc., Katie Porter, D-Calif., and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md.

The legislators also sent copies of the letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Energy Secretary Dan Broulliette.

A copy of today’s letter is here.