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The US “Congress must act to preserve global stability by restricting the circumstances under which the U.S. would be the first nation to use a nuclear weapon. Our Founders created a system of checks and balances, and it is essential for that standard to be applied to the potentially civilization-ending threat of nuclear war. I am proud to introduce the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 with Sen. Markey to realign our nation’s nuclear weapons launch policy with the Constitution and work towards a safer world… This legislation would prohibit the President from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. The crucial issue of nuclear “first use” is more urgent than ever now that President Donald Trump has the power to launch a nuclear war at a moment’s notice.” (US Congressman Lieu – see more information below.)

Link to JFK Speech: http://youtu.be/ACXhH84jKb0
Mind-boggling that the US, Russia and several other governments actually nuked their own citizens and the world with above ground nuclear bomb explosions, aka weapons tests. They continue to nuke their own peoples through legal discharges of radioactive materials from nuclear reactors and throughout the entire nuclear fuel chain, down to the nuclear waste. While this is at a slower rate, long-lived radioactive materials continue to accumulate in the environment and have done so since the beginning of the nuclear age, and to a lesser extent even before, considering the radium craze.

The Test Ban Treaty of 1963 prohibits nuclear weapons tests “or any other nuclear explosion” in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water. While not banning tests underground, the Treaty does prohibit nuclear explosions in this environment if they cause “radioactive debris to be present outside the territorial limits of the State under whose jurisdiction or control” the explosions were conducted. In accepting limitations on testing, the nuclear powers accepted as a common goal “an end to the contamination of man’s environment by radioactive substances.https://www.state.gov/t/isn/4797.htm

On Saturday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged the United States has direct diplomatic channels through which to try to negotiate with Pyongyang about North Korea’s continued nuclear and ballistic missile tests. President Trump appeared to undercut his top diplomat the following day, saying Tillerson is “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with North Korea’s leader. In one of a series of tweets the president said, “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!“(“Mattis: Pentagon ‘Fully’ Supports State Department on North Korea” October 03, 2017 1:18 PM, VOA News, https://www.voanews.com/a/mattis-tillerson-trump-north-korea/4054588.html )
 Fortunately, Trump appears to have been too busy the last couple of days to tweet out additional threats.

US “CONGRESSMAN LIEU, SENATOR MARKEY INTRODUCE THE RESTRICTING FIRST USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS ACT OF 2017
January 24, 2017 Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced H.R. 669 [1] and S. 200 [2], the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 [3]. This legislation would prohibit the President from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. The crucial issue of nuclear “first use” is more urgent than ever now that President Donald Trump has the power to launch a nuclear war at a moment’s notice.

Upon introduction of this legislation, Mr. Lieu issued the following statement:
“It is a frightening reality that the U.S. now has a Commander-in-Chief who has demonstrated ignorance of the nuclear triad, stated his desire to be ‘unpredictable’ with nuclear weapons, and as President-elect was making sweeping statements about U.S. nuclear policy over Twitter. Congress must act to preserve global stability by restricting the circumstances under which the U.S. would be the first nation to use a nuclear weapon. Our Founders created a system of checks and balances, and it is essential for that standard to be applied to the potentially civilization-ending threat of nuclear war. I am proud to introduce the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 with Sen. Markey to realign our nation’s nuclear weapons launch policy with the Constitution and work towards a safer world.”

Upon introduction of this legislation, Senator Markey issued the following statement:
“Nuclear war poses the gravest risk to human survival. Yet, President Trump has suggested that he would consider launching nuclear attacks against terrorists. Unfortunately, by maintaining the option of using nuclear weapons first in a conflict, U.S. policy provides him with that power. In a crisis with another nuclear-armed country, this policy drastically increases the risk of unintended nuclear escalation. Neither President Trump, nor any other president, should be allowed to use nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear attack. By restricting the first use of nuclear weapons, this legislation enshrines that 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.”

Support for the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017:
William J. Perry, Former Secretary of Defense – “During my period as Secretary of Defense, I never confronted a situation, or could even imagine a situation, in which I would recommend that the President make a first strike with nuclear weapons—understanding that such an action, whatever the provocation, would likely bring about the end of civilization.  I believe that the legislation proposed by Congressman Lieu and Senator Markey recognizes that terrible reality.  Certainly a decision that momentous for all of civilization should have the kind of checks and balances on Executive powers called for by our Constitution.”

Tom Z. Collina, Policy Director of Ploughshares Fund – “President Trump now has the keys to the nuclear arsenal, the most deadly killing machine ever created. Within minutes, President Trump could unleash up to 1,000 nuclear weapons, each one many times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. Yet Congress has no voice in the most important decision the United States government can make. As it stands now, Congress has a larger role in deciding on the number of military bands than in preventing nuclear catastrophe.”

Derek Johnson, Executive Director of Global Zero – “One modern nuclear weapon is more destructive than all of the bombs detonated in World War II combined. Yet there is no check on a president’s ability to launch the thousands of nuclear weapons at his command. In the wake of the election, the American people are more concerned than ever about the terrible prospect of nuclear war — and what the next commander-in-chief will do with the proverbial ‘red button.’ That such devastating power is concentrated in one person is an affront to our democracy’s founding principles. The proposed legislation is an important first step to reining in this autocratic system and making the world safer from a nuclear catastrophe.”

Megan Amundson, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) – “Rep. Lieu and Sen. Markey have rightly called out the dangers of only one person having his or her finger on the nuclear button. The potential misuse of this power in the current global climate has only magnified this concern. It is time to make real progress toward lowering the risk that nuclear weapons are ever used again, and this legislation is a good start.”

Jeff Carter, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility – “Nuclear weapons pose an unacceptable risk to our national security. Even a “limited” use of nuclear weapons would cause catastrophic climate disruption around the world, including here in the United States. They are simply too profoundly dangerous for one person to be trusted with the power to introduce them into a conflict. Grounded in the fundamental constitutional provision that only Congress has the power to declare war, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 is a wise and necessary step to lessen the chance these weapons will ever be used.”

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) – “Restricting first-use of nuclear weapons is an urgent priority. Congress should support the Markey-Lieu legislation.”

The Arms Control Association – “The Arms Control Association applauds Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) for reintroducing legislation to highlight the unconstrained and undemocratic ability of the president to initiate the first-use of U.S. nuclear weapons.… The inauguration of President Donald Trump has heightened fears about the sole authority of the commander in chief to use nuclear weapons. Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed deep concern about his erratic behavior and loose talk on nuclear weapons. Now is the time to put responsible checks on the use of nuclear weapons in place. Such a decision is far too important to be left in the hands of one person.”
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Issues: 
National Security and Foreign Policy
https://lieu.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/congressman-lieu-senator-markey-introduce-restricting-first-use-0
[1] https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/669?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22hr+669%22%5D%7D&r=1
[2] https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/200?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22s.200%22%5D%7D&r=1
[3] https://lieu.house.gov/sites/lieu.house.gov/files/documents/LIEU_002_xml%20%28115th%20Congress%29.pdf

Many thanks to Nuclear Hotseat for the heads-up on this bill. See their excellent interview with Marianne Birkby as well here: http://nuclearhotseat.com/2017/09/27/north-uk-nuke-waste-storage-fightback-marianne-birkby-man-who-saved-the-world-from-nuclear-holocaust-dies-nh-327/