ENERGY AND WATER APPROPRIATIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 107
(Senate - June 26, 2018)

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[Page S4398]
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  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, I wish to discuss H.R. 5895, the Energy 
and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans 
Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019.
  I thank Senate leadership and the Appropriations Committee for their 
work on this legislation.
  The Appropriations Committee's effort this year to return the Senate 
to regular order on annual spending bills is commendable, and the 
leadership of the committee honors a bipartisan commitment to keep the 
most controversial policy language out of these pieces of legislation.
  While we can agree that the legislation is indeed absent of unrelated 
policy riders, that does not mean all of the appropriations it contains 
and the resulting policy implications of those appropriations are good.
  One such misguided priority within this bill is funding an 
unnecessary, destabilizing, and thoroughly underexplained expansion of 
America's nuclear arsenal.
  In particular, the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations 
Act contains $65 million in funding to develop a new so-called low-
yield nuclear weapon warhead: the W76-2. This is a new nuclear weapon 
that we simply just do not need. For this reason, I opposed this bill.
  I made clear during Senate consideration of the National Defense 
Authorization Act that developing the W76-2 low-yield nuclear warhead 
creates a new nuclear weapon that is unnecessary to maintain America's 
nuclear deterrent.
  This need for a new low-yield nuclear weapon first came to light just 
5 months ago in the Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review.
  I have seen no documents, reports, or studies justifying the W76-2 or 
supporting its immediate development, and serious questions remain 
  Why are the hundreds of low-yield nuclear weapons that we already 
have, like the B61 bomb and air-launched cruise missile, not adequate?
  Where will these new W76-2 nuclear weapons be deployed?
  On how many of our boomer submarines will we be placing these weapons 
and on what schedule?
  What targets will we no longer hold at risk with strategic nuclear 
weapons to accommodate these new low-yield weapons?
  Since this W76-2 low-yield nuclear weapon will be launched using the 
same rockets as our strategic thermonuclear weapons and off of the 
exact same submarines, how can anyone distinguish whether it is one or 
the other?
  Somehow, answers to these questions have not been written down 
anywhere. Instead, we are simply told ``we need the low yield nuclear 
weapon to deter the Russians and prevent an escalate to de-escalate 
  The United States already has plans to spend hundreds of billions of 
dollars to upgrade our existing nuclear weapons systems as part of the 
existing nuclear modernization program, systems that are in excess of 
what we need to maintain our nuclear deterrence.
  So it just makes no sense to spend money to develop new nuclear 
  In doing so, we are making America and the world less safe, not more. 
We are throwing away decades of American leadership trying to move the 
world away from nuclear weapons and the existential threat they pose to 
all of us.
  That is why I filed an amendment to redirect funds that the Trump 
administration would use to develop this wasteful and unnecessary low-
yield nuclear weapon towards preparing for nonproliferation activities 
that will be essential to helping denuclearize North Korea whether now 
or at some point in the future.
  I regret that my amendment was not considered during the floor debate 
on this bill, but I still believe that Congress needs to seriously 
consider the consequences of authorizing and appropriating funds for 
this new weapon.
  I am more worried than ever that this crucial debate has not and is 
not receiving the attention that it deserves. I hope, moving forward, 
we can change that and that the Senate will appropriately consider the 
magnitude of the decisions we are making here today.
  A nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon. They are fundamentally 
different than anything else in the world, and they must be treated as 
  In the absence of a full debate on the floor of this Chamber that 
allows the American people to understand what is truly at stake with 
this new weapon, I could not support this legislation.
  Thank you.