LOS ANGELES – A legislation prohibiting the U.S. President from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by the U.S. Congress was introduced by U.S. Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), Lieu’s office announced.
The legislation, Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2016, was introduced after the U.S. Presidential Debate Monday night.
The crucial issue of nuclear first use – discussed in last evening’s Presidential Debate – is all the more urgent given the fact that a majority of Americans do not trust Republican Nominee Donald Trump with our nation’s nuclear arsenal, according to Lieu’s office.
Lieu said in a statement: “Our Founding Fathers would be rolling over in their graves if they knew the President could launch a massive, potentially civilization-ending military strike without authorization from Congress.”
“Our Constitution created a government based on checks and balances and gave the power to declare war solely to the people’s representatives. A nuclear first strike, which can kill hundreds of millions of people and invite a retaliatory strike that can destroy America, is war,” Lieu said in the statement.
“The current nuclear launch approval process, which gives the decision to potentially end civilization as we know it to a single individual, is flatly unconstitutional. I am proud to introduce the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2016 with Sen. Markey to realign our nation’s nuclear weapons launch policy with the Constitution,” Lieu concluded.
Senator Markey said in his statement: “Nuclear war poses the gravest risk to human survival. Unfortunately, by maintaining the option of using nuclear weapons first in a conflict, U.S. policy increases the risk of unintended nuclear escalation.”
“The President should not use nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear attack. This legislation enshrines this simple principle into law. I thank Rep. Lieu for his partnership on this common-sense bill during this critical time in our nation’s history,” said Senator Markey.