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senate Bill S. 312

Cutting Off Funding for Missiles Until INF Treaty Withdrawal is Studied

Argument in favor

A potential U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty is a major decision that’d have consequences not just for the U.S., but for the entire global order. Such a decision needs to be carefully considered — and requiring a report to Congress on this question is a step towards ensuring that happens.

Dicr's Opinion
···
02/02/2019
IQ45 is compromised. He has not separated himself from his businesses and the few sanctions he allowed to take effect on Russia are being lifted after just four months. This administration can not be trusted to do what’s best for American.
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Ken's Opinion
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02/02/2019
Sounds to me that this administration would rather face consequences of a nuclear offensive rather than to seek less destructive bilateral agreements. It takes a bigger man to make peace that to make war.
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Jeanne's Opinion
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02/02/2019
45 is putin’s puppet. All must stop until the withdrawal from the treaty is fully investigated. I think Mueller needs to look into this.
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Argument opposed

There’s already ample debate within both the administration and Congress as to the right decision on the future of the INF Treaty. Our allies, especially those in NATO, have also been outspoken with their opinions on this issue. A Congressional report isn’t needed to ensure this decision is carefully considered.

B.R.'s Opinion
···
02/02/2019
The bottom line is that Russia is not complying with INF Treaty. This has been a well known fact for years. Unfortunately, prior administrations did nothing about it, as if to say, if we ignore it, it will go away. The first step to correct an ineffective Treaty is to outwardly acknowledge it and take the necessary steps to rectify. This bill is premature.
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Fred's Opinion
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02/02/2019
Mutual assured destruction. As ugly as that sounds it’s what keeps us safe. Just us not building weapons won’t stop others from building them
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Gopin2020's Opinion
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02/02/2019
Figures that a Democrat came up with stupid shi* like this. Our national defense isn’t up for debate, Democrats fiddle while Rome burns, not Trump! The most modernization of our missiles , Army, Navy, Air Forces and Coast Guard is our foremost priority. #MAGA
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
    IntroducedJanuary 31st, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. 312?

This bill — the Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2019 — would prohibit funding for a U.S. ground-launched or ballistic missile with a range from 500-5,500 kilometers until the Trump Administration provides a report that meets six specific conditions.

These six conditions are: 

  • Identifying a NATO or Indo-Pacific ally formally willing to host such a system and securing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to that effect;

  • Detailing recent diplomatic efforts to bring Russia back into compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty);

  • Assessing the risk to U.S. and U.S. allies’ national security due to Russia being able to deploy greater numbers of intermediate range missiles without restriction;

  • Assessing the potential Russian and Chinese threats that can’t be met by INF-compliant capabilities;

  • Identifying technologies and programs the U.S. would need to pursue to offset additional Russian capabilities, and estimating their costs; and

  • Detailing the costs to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the ability to maintain consensus within the NATO alliance should the INF Treaty collapse, as well as the degree to which Russia would attempt to use the U.S.’ unilateral withdrawal from the INF to sow discord within the NATO alliance.

The Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Armed Services, as well as the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Armed Services, would receive copies of this report.

Impact

Nuclear weapons; nuclear proliferation; foreign policy; Russia; and the INF Treaty.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 312

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to pull the U.S. and Russia back from the brink of a 21st Century nuclear arms race:

“There’s a reason that kids today don’t do duck-and-cover drills in schools and that nobody has bomb shelters in their backyards anymore. That reason is because of key agreements like the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. This era of stability is put at great risk by President Trump’s decision to unilaterally pull out of the INF Treaty. This decision ignores all the lessons from the Cold War. There is no doubt that Russia is violating the INF Treaty, but the right path forward is to work to bring them back into compliance, not free them to produce more nuclear weapons. Blowing up the Treaty risks the proliferation of nuclear-capable systems by Russia, threatening Europe and jeopardizing decades of bipartisan efforts to reduce nuclear dangers with Russia.”

In November 2018, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution supporting the NPT. The resolution expressed the Senate’s sense that “the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) continues to make an invaluable contribution to United States and international security.” Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, described the INF as “probably the most successful treaty in [the] history of arms control” as recently as summer 2018.

The Brookings Institution’s Steven Pifer argues that U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty would be “a loser all around,” giving Russian officials cause for celebration:

“First, the United States will get the blame for killing the treaty. Moscow has vigorously denied the U.S. charge and claims the United States is in fact the one in violation. U.S. evidence of the Russian violation is highly classified, so the public debate will devolve into an exchange of charges, counter-charges, and denials. Given the low credibility of the Trump administration, Washington will have a hard time winning that debate. Second, once the United States withdraws from the treaty, there is no reason for Russia to even pretend it is observing the limits. Moscow will be free to deploy the 9M729 cruise missile, and an intermediate-range ballistic missile if it wants, without any restraint. Third, the U.S. decision will prove controversial with European allies and others who continue to see value in the treaty. It’s hard to feel too much sympathy; no European leader has raised a public stink with the Kremlin about the Russian violation, and there’s little to suggest the violation was protested much in private at high levels. Still, this is the kind of question where the U.S. position would benefit from alliance solidarity. Fourth, the United States currently has no missile that it could quickly deploy to match the Russians. The “'integrated strategy' included a treaty-compliant research and development program for a U.S. intermediate-range missile (development is allowed short of flight-testing), but it provided little money. Even if the Pentagon were to build the missile, however, a big question remains: Where could the United States put it? An intermediate-range missile based in the United States cannot reach Russia, so it will not cause much alarm in the Kremlin. And it is unlikely that the United States could persuade NATO, Japan or South Korea to deploy it.”

Many of America’s allies, including most of its European allies and Japan, are concerned about the consequences — for both Europe and future disarmament efforts — of the U.S. pulling out of the INF Treaty. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, urged the U.S. to consider the consequences of this decision:

“The [INF T]reaty ... has for 30 years been an important pillar of our European security architecture. We have often urged Russia to address serious allegations that it is violating the agreement. We now urge the U.S. to consider the possible consequences [of leaving the Treaty].”

The Kremlin has long wanted to leave the INF Treaty, but President Putin has been reluctant to make the move himself, as he’s been wary of the blowback. The Brookings Institute's Pavel Baev says:

“The Russian leadership has wanted to scrap the INF Treaty for a long time, but President Putin has been reluctant to take the blame for such misbehavior. Instead, the Kremlin sought to provoke the Trump administration—known for its eagerness to break international agreements—into rushing the unilateral withdrawal. It has achieved just that, but is hardly in a position to harvest any political dividends. For once, Russia’s reputation has sunk so low that no attempt to claim being an innocent victim of U.S. pressure could convince even sincere believers in dialogue. For another, the INF Treaty codifies Russia’s status as a nuclear superpower on par with the United States, and no amount of brandishing of ‘wonder-missiles’ can repair the damage to this much-valued distinction.”

President Trump argues that withdrawing from the INF Treaty makes sense for the U.S., given that Russia isn’t honoring the agreement anyway:

“Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years and I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out. We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and do weapons and we’re not allowed to. We’re the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement so we’re going to terminate the agreement, we’re going to pull out.”

When asked to clarify his position, President Trump said:

“Unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and they say, ‘Let’s all of us get smart and let’s none of us develop those weapons,’ but if Russia’s doing it and if China’s doing it and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable. So we have a tremendous amount of money to play with with our military.”

President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has long been a proponent of withdrawing from the INF Treaty, as it constrains the America's ability to counter nuclear rivals such as China and nuclear aspirants such as China, Iran, and North Korea. When President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty, Bolton asserted that he was doing so in recognition of a “changed reality” in both technological and strategic terms.

Matthew Kroenig, a nuclear expert at the Atlantic Council think tank, argues that’s “no hope of getting Moscow to return to compliance” with the INF Treaty. He contends that “it doesn’t make sense for the United States to be unilaterally constrained by limits that don’t affect any other country.

This bill has 10 cosponsors in the current Congress, including nine Democrats and one Independent. Last Congress, it had six cosponsors, including five Democrats and one Independent, and died in committee.


Of NotePresident Trump announced his intention to unilaterally withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia on October 20, 2018. Ultimately, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with her European counterparts, convinced President Trump to give Moscow one last change to comply with the accord before deciding on whether to withdraw the U.S. from the treaty. On December 4, 2018, the Trump administration announced its intention to give Russia 60 days to comply with the treaty. After that period elapsed, the Trump administration moved to formally suspended its obligations under the INF Treaty as of February 2, 2019.

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

Richard Burt, who helped negotiate the INF Treaty during the Reagan administration, predicts that a U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty would prompt Russia to again deploy intermediate-range missiles and the United States to react by rolling out new sea- and air-based weapons systems even if it doesn’t redeploy ground-based missiles to Europe. Burt says:

“The existing framework for nuclear control and constraints is unraveling. If the two largest nuclear powers are walking away from arms-control agreements, it provides an excuse for other countries to acquire nuclear weapons. It’s easy to look back [at the Cold War] and say, ‘Gee, we avoided a nuclear conflict because we were so smart.’ I happen to think it was ‘We were very lucky. And if we’re going to go through another nuclear-arms race, this time we might not be that lucky.”

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, adds:

“This is a colossal mistake. Russia gets to violate the treaty and Trump takes the blame. I doubt very much that the US will deploy much that would have been prohibited by the treaty. Russia, though, will go gangbusters.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / vchal)

AKA

Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2019

Official Title

A bill to prevent a nuclear arms race resulting from weakened international restrictions on the proliferation of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles, and for other purposes.

    IQ45 is compromised. He has not separated himself from his businesses and the few sanctions he allowed to take effect on Russia are being lifted after just four months. This administration can not be trusted to do what’s best for American.
    Like (117)
    Follow
    Share
    The bottom line is that Russia is not complying with INF Treaty. This has been a well known fact for years. Unfortunately, prior administrations did nothing about it, as if to say, if we ignore it, it will go away. The first step to correct an ineffective Treaty is to outwardly acknowledge it and take the necessary steps to rectify. This bill is premature.
    Like (61)
    Follow
    Share
    Sounds to me that this administration would rather face consequences of a nuclear offensive rather than to seek less destructive bilateral agreements. It takes a bigger man to make peace that to make war.
    Like (70)
    Follow
    Share
    45 is putin’s puppet. All must stop until the withdrawal from the treaty is fully investigated. I think Mueller needs to look into this.
    Like (48)
    Follow
    Share
    It’s unprecedented, but there’s no reason to trust this president’s motives or explanations. It’s now up to coequal branches of government to justify this withdrawal to the American people and ensure it is really in our interests. It’s because this White House has no credibility that we need protective action from members of our government who know what they’re doing and have our national interests in mind.
    Like (30)
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    Mutual assured destruction. As ugly as that sounds it’s what keeps us safe. Just us not building weapons won’t stop others from building them
    Like (25)
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    Trump will keep withdrawing from treaties and agreements and endanger us more each day he rules over us. It looks like Congress is powerless and worthless to protect us. The world will be a more dangerous place because of this president. To borrow one of his words, “Sad.”
    Like (22)
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    Withdrawing from the treaty is a bad idea. If we withdraw, then Russia is free to develop whatever nuclear weapons they want, which affects every part of the US, not to mention all our allies elsewhere in the world. And if the US and Russia no longer agree to nuclear disarmament, then who are we to wag a finger at North Korea’s nuclear development program? And if we’re allowing nuclear weapons, who’s to say that bioweapons won’t be next? “Russia’s already doing it, so we want to do it, too!” is apparently all the excuse needed to back out of any treaty involving them. Look, morons: the more weapons you have and develop, the more reasons you’ll find to “need” to use them. And the more reasons you have to “need” them, the more you’re going to make. And the more you make, the more likely you are to find reasons to “need” use them. It’s a vicious cycle that requires A LOT of effort to break, which is what Mr. Gorbachev and President Reagan came together and agreed to do in 1987. That was only three decades ago, and we’re already giving up on it? Start digging and stocking your nuclear bomb shelters, folks. It looks like they’re going to be needed fairly soon…
    Like (17)
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    We need world peace now. Otherwise, nuclear missiles will end the human species. If Steve Jobs can invent the iphone, then we can invent world peace.
    Like (16)
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    The US should not be the one to formally withdraw from this treaty. The world does not need another arms race. This bill will give Congress time to look into the issue.
    Like (15)
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    Figures that a Democrat came up with stupid shi* like this. Our national defense isn’t up for debate, Democrats fiddle while Rome burns, not Trump! The most modernization of our missiles , Army, Navy, Air Forces and Coast Guard is our foremost priority. #MAGA
    Like (13)
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    Trump is completely untrustworthy
    Like (12)
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    For trump to threaten to pull out of the treaty Putin has already stated Russia will develop more intermediate range nuclear weapons. A clear threat to our European allies. Putin has been working to have Russian influence in Europe,and this move will accomplish exactly that.
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    Trump is a Russian asset.
    Like (12)
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    We must yank TRUMP’S chain before he creates WWIII in his IGNORANCE and TEMPER FIT!
    Like (10)
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    The Trump administration has given Russia what it wants without any attempt to hold them accountable for violating the INF Treaty. As Professor Tom Nichols of the Naval War College tweeted “Leaving INF Treaty is a gift to Russia” Trump claims he is a great negotiator but this surrender and withdrawal show real weakness not strength. We need to be holding Russia accountable instead walking away from confronting them about their INF Treaty violations!
    Like (9)
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    The Trump Administration does things without thinking about the consequences for the country years down the road. What is the point of this? Who does this benefit besides Russia? This is the type of stuff that makes people question whether the US President is a Russian stooge.
    Like (9)
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    Our Cold War-induced policies and agreements are ALL long overdue for a review and changes. We are in a new world, and our foreign policy should reflect the conditions of that new world. Our military spending and the local economies affected by redirecting our military spending away from old Cold War strategies need to be confronted and addressed directly. Change will mean pain for some, but part of our national foreign policy strategy should be to find ways to support those who will be adversely affected by those changes, not hiding our heads in the sand and continuing to act as if nothing has changed! We should use this opportunity to begin handling this situation properly!
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    Trump’s view of foreign affairs and the foreign threat level has been contradicted by EVERY director of intelligence in our government. His judgment cannot be trusted, and Congress needs to do its job of oversight.
    Like (8)
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    What’s going on with the Plutonium that got shipped under our noses to Nevada??? It’s time to put a halt to this nefarious behavior. Congress needs to take control of this ”Out of Control” Administration!
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