One good thing in the budget
Last night Congress voted to pass the final budget for 2011, and while there is a lot we are not happy about, there is one success to celebrate. Nuclear nonproliferation efforts were given an increase of $190 million over last year’s funding.
These important programs that clean up loose nuclear material around the world had been threatened with as much as a 20% cut! That would have severely jeopardized the efforts to lock down bomb-grade nuclear material within four years, one of the crucial steps on the road towards a nuclear weapons free world.
The bill, [voted on last night], sets aside $2.32 billion for nuclear nonproliferation initiatives administered by the National Nuclear Security Administration. Much of the additional funding is focused on the Obama administration’s effort to secure vulnerable nuclear materials around the world….
The final version of the bill used the number the Democratic Senate had proposed, which is a 9% increase over last year’s funding. This is one of the only programs that was increased in the federal budget, many other programs were cut back. This is still lower than the President’s request for 2011, but it marks a dramatic shift from the GOP-backed House proposal to slash this funding. Their version of the bill would have given $241 million less to these critical programs.
These programs secured 800 bombs worth of nuclear material in 2010, and with this increase in funding, will be able to keep on track to complete this work within four years.
The Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free world organized a national April 5th Call-in Day to save nuclear security funding, and people around the country called and emailed their senators and representatives asking them to fund these programs that are working to make the world safe from the threat of nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation.
If you were one of the people who emailed your representatives: Thank you and congratulations!
This week we will enjoy this success. Next week, we will get back to work to change next year’s budget for nuclear weapons. We’ll be urging Congress to stop spending billions of taxpayer dollars on giant bomb factories and outdated warheads, and instead to dismantle the weapons we have and deal with dangerous nuclear material. If we are ever going to achieve a world free of all nuclear weapons, we have to put our money where our mouth is.