- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Committee on Armed ServicesStrategic ForcesIntroducedFebruary 14th, 2019
- house Committees
What is House Bill H.R. 1249?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 1249
In-Depth: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced this bill to prevent the U.S. from sparking an arms race with Russia:
“We face a greater risk of nuclear catastrophe now than ever before in history. The threat of nuclear war is real. President Trump’s reckless decision to pull out of the INF Treaty heightens this threat by exacerbating the new Cold War, sparking a new arms race between the United States and Russia, and bringing us ever closer to a nuclear holocaust. President Trump’s actions make the American people and our country less safe, while wasting taxpayer dollars to pay for the new arms race and nuclear weapons -- dollars that should be used to address the needs of our people and communities right here at home. My legislation will uphold the INF Treaty, prevent an escalation of the new Cold War and new arms race, and protect taxpayer dollars. Rather than scrapping the INF Treaty, we should be working to strengthen and expand it, and continue pursuing a path toward security and peace.”
"The INF Treaty Compliance Act of 2019 is the exact right response to President Trump’s dangerous withdrawal from the landmark INF Treaty. Congress should not be rewarding Trump’s actions by helping him spark an arms race; it should be restraining him at every turn. When it comes to nuclear weapons, this president has shown a callous disregard for the decades of work that has been done to put the world on a safer path. We must block Trump’s desire to build new nuclear weapons, including conventional and nuclear missiles that have been prohibited for over 30 years, and pass Representative Gabbard's important bill."
Dr. Sergei Sudakov, a professor at the Russian Academy of Military Science research center in Moscow, argues that this bill has no chance of passage due to lack of lobbying support from arms manufacturers:
"Obviously, with the termination of the INF Treaty, the US military-industrial complex will receive additional orders. This doesn't mean that the Gabbard initiative is in vain, however. It's possible that the discussion of the bill will cause a public resonance which will prevent the implementation of some of the lobbyists' plans.”
Konstantin Blokhin, a fellow at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies think tank, adds that the America’sU.S.’ exit from the INF was “predestined” before Trump took office, due to the Pentagon looking for any excuse to allocate funding for the development of new missile systems banned under the treaty. Blokhin agrees that this bill has no chance, saying, “Gabbard's bill has no chance. No matter how Congress votes, Trump is against preserving this treaty. He simply won't sign it.”
The White House has yet to offer public comment on this bill. However, a number of President Trump’s advisers — most notably National Security Adviser John Bolton — have expressed their opposition to arms control agreements like the INF, as they believe they abridge U.S. sovereignty.
There are seven Democratic cosponsors of this bill. Win Without War, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Ploughshares Fund, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Beyond the Bomb, Global Zero, and NuclearWakeUpCall support this bill.
Of Note: The INF Treaty was originally signed by President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. It required the U.S. and Soviet Union to permanently eliminate all ground-launched ballistic and cruise milles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers, effectively eliminating an entire class of nuclear weapons.
Alongside the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the INF Treaty helped dramatically reduce the number of long-range Soviet and American nuclear weapons, ending the nuclear-arms race. Together, these treaties resulted in the destruction of nearly 2,700 missiles and their launchers, and boosted the overall U.S.-Soviet relationship as the Cold War ended.
For years, the U.S. and Russia have traded accusations that the other party is violating the INF Treaty: Russia purportedly with a banned cruise missile, and the U.S. allegedly with its missile-defense systems in eastern Europe. The Obama administration and, at least initially, the Trump administration, set the goal of bringing Russia back into compliance with the INF Treaty.
However, on February 1, 2019, President Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF, effective as of February 2, 2019. In announcing the administration’s decision, Trump accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty by developing the new 9M729 missile system. He said that the U.S. would “suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing” in response to this latest violation of the INF.
In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Moscow’s suspension of the INF Treaty on February 2, 2019, and handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the U.S. needed to show willingness to have an equal and substantive dialogue. In making his announcement, Putin said, “We will have to take effective countermeasures. However, Russia, as a responsible and sensible country, has no interest in a new arms race.”
- Sponsoring Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) Press Release
- Sponsoring Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) Dear Colleague Letter
- AP News
- Arms Control Association (Context)
- The Atlantic (Context)
- State Dept. Press Release (Context)
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Alex Potemkin)