Twenty-six members of the Senate are calling on the Obama administration to increase planned spending on programs to secure or reduce global stocks of nuclear weapons materials in the upcoming 2016 White House budget, even as they are challenging an administration decision to significantly shrink these programs in 2015.
Dianne Feinstein of California and Jeff Merkley of Oregon were joined by 20 other Democrats, as well as two Republicans and two independents, in signing a three page letter August 13 requesting more spending for nuclear materials security programs in future budgets to White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan.
“The recent spate of terrorism in Iraq, Pakistan, and Kenya is a harrowing reminder of the importance of ensuring that terrorist groups and rogue states cannot get their hands on the world's most dangerous weapons and materials,” the senators wrote.
Obama called for a worldwide effort to lock up all nuclear explosive materials in a landmark speech in Prague in 2009, calling them “the most immediate and extreme threat to global security.” But the president’s proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget cut nonproliferation programs in the Department of Energy by nearly $400 million. In their letter, the senators praised Obama‘s leadership on securing and eliminating nuclear materials but said his current budget marked a “major retreat” on the issue.