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US Sen. Ed Markey looks to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to launch nuclear strike

In Nuclear Guardianship, Peace, Politics, War on May 5, 2017 at 12:09 am

By Shannon Young | syoung@repub.com , May 03, 2017
U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, made the case Wednesday for advancing legislation that would limit Donald Trump and future presidents’ ability to launch a nuclear first strike, contending that nearly 500,000 Americans have endorsed the measure.

Markey, who introduced the so-called ” Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017″ earlier this year, joined advocates and other lawmakers in calling for a tougher process for launching a nuclear attack — an effort which the senator said is “absolutely critical during the Trump administration.”

The Massachusetts Democrat told reporters during a Capitol Hill news conference that he was proud to have received about half a million petition signatures from Americans who support the legislation, contending that they reflect a national concern about the president’s potential use of nuclear weapons.

Markey argued that current laws, which give the president unilateral authority to launch an unprovoked nuclear attack, are unconstitutional, undemocratic and “simply unbelievable.”

“This unconstrained power flies in the face of our Constitution, which gives Congress the sole and exclusive power to declare war,” he said. “While it is vital for the president to have clear authority to respond to nuclear attacks on the United States, our forces or our allies, no president should have the power to launch a nuclear first strike without congressional approval.”

The senator said his bill would address that risk by prohibiting any U.S. president from launching a nuclear first strike unless explicitly authorized by a congressional declaration of war.

Offering that his legislation represents a “common sense, national security protection,” Markey argued that such a protocol is needed given the current president’s comments on nuclear weapons.

“Today we have a president, who has welcomed a 21st Century nuclear arms race with Russia; he has tweeted ‘The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes’…As long as President Trump has a Twitter account, we need a nuclear no first use policy for the United States of America,” he said.

“No human being should have the sole authority to initiate an unprovoked nuclear war,” Markey continued. “Not any American president, and certainly not President Donald Trump. As long as that power exists, it must be put in check.”

Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu, of California, who introduced a companion measure in the U.S. House, meanwhile, said “it’s destabilizing if countries know we can do a first use on nuclear weapons.”

“These are dangerous times, that’s why we need this bill,” he said.

Several advocacy groups took part in the nationwide effort to gather petition signatures in support of the legislation.

They included: The American Friends Service Committee, Arms Control Association, Council for a Livable World; CREDO, Daily Kos, Global Zero, Just Foreign Policy, Peace Action, Ploughshares Fund, Progressive Congress Action Fund, Public Citizen, RootsAction.org, Union of Concerned Scientists, United for Peace and Justice, Watchdog.net, Win Without War and Women’s Action for New Directions.

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