McAdams blocks funding for restarting explosive nuclear weapons testing in defense bill
July 20, 2020
Washington, D.C.—Congressman Ben McAdams today passed his amendment to prohibit funding for conducting or preparing for any explosive nuclear weapons test. His amendment passed the House during consideration of the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 6395).
“Thousands of Utahns are still dealing with trauma inflicted by bombs exploded from decades past, leaving a legacy of illness, suffering and death. Why would we ever go down that path again?” said McAdams during his House floor speech in support of his amendment.
McAdams put forward his amendment after reports of discussions by White House officials to conduct an explosive nuclear weapons test. The last such test occurred in 1992. McAdams notes the Senate version of the NDAA includes $10 million for the purpose of preparing for such a test, and a Defense Department official said a test could be conducted “within months” if ordered to take place, highlighting the urgency of enacting his amendment.
The U.S. maintains the most effective and capable nuclear deterrent in the world. Officials have done so while observing a moratorium on nuclear explosive testing for the past three decades, made possible by the success of the science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program and a rigorous annual assessment process.
“For generations, Utahns have experienced higher rates of cancer and other serious medical conditions due to harmful radiation exposure, leading to thousands of premature deaths. We have a moral imperative to prevent additional harm to our citizens,” said McAdams.
In addition to his NDAA amendment, McAdams successfully pushed House leaders to put language in next year’s spending bills, prohibiting the use of funds for test-site readiness or weapons testing. McAdams says these are timely and important Congressional steps, but he will not rest until this prohibition becomes law.