House-Senate Defense Appropriations Conference Committee Approves Measure to Limit Funding for the Development of the Reliable Replacement Warhead Program
Nov 06 2007
Washington, DC – The members of the House and Senate Conference Committee for the FY’08 Defense Appropriations bill today approved language to limit funding for the development of the controversial Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program to $15 million, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced.
The Senate-approved Defense Appropriations bill had cut the Administration’s request for funding for the RRW program from $30 million down to $15 million, although the House-approved version had completely zeroed out RRW funding. So, the Conferees effectively adopted the Senate’s language on this issue.
The Conferees also included language to restrict the funding to Phase 2A, design definition and cost study.
“This Conference report clearly states that RRW funding is restricted to Phase 2A: design definition and cost study,” Senator Feinstein said. “Opening the door to a new nuclear weapons program is a course we should not pursue. I remain opposed to funding the development of the RRW program until Congress has had the opportunity to have a more thorough, detailed and bipartisan analysis of our nuclear weapons policy and posture.”
On July 25, the Administration published a three-page white paper in which it argued that the Reliable Replacement Warhead Program should be funded. Senator Feinstein opposes such funding, asserting that developing the Reliable Replacement Warhead will, in effect, create a new-generation nuclear weapon.
In August, Senator Feinstein introduced a bill to cut all funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead Program through Fiscal Year 2010, and require the Administration to conduct in-depth reviews of U.S. nuclear policy and posture.
Specifically, the bill would:
- Prohibit the appropriation of any funds for the Reliable Replacement Warhead Program -- for Fiscal Years 2008, 2009 and 2010 -- until required reports are delivered to Congress by the President and Secretary of Defense;
- Require the President to conduct a nuclear policy review to consider a range of options on the role of nuclear weapons in United States security policy. The Administration may reach out to outside experts and conduct public hearings to obtain a wide range of views. This policy review will provide options and recommendations for the subsequent posture review. The policy review report is due to Congress no later than September 1, 2009;
- Require the Secretary of Defense, following completion of the nuclear policy review, to conduct a comprehensive review of the nuclear posture of the United States, to clarify U.S. nuclear deterrence policy and strategy. This report shall be due to Congress no later than March 1, 2010.
The Feinstein legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Russell Feingold (D-Wisc.), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), and John Kerry (D-Mass.).