The Republican-led House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected a measure to roll back spending on B61 nuclear bombs deployed and stored in Europe.
Democratic Reps. Jared Polis (CO) and Mike Quigley (IL) proposed an amendment to a water and energy program funding bill that would cut $23.7 million for the B61 nuclear bomb not requested by the Department of Energy. They questioned why the program received more money than it requested for weapons that may be useless.
"At a time when we are slashing funds for disease research at the NIH, failing to fund our crumbling infrastructure, and under investing in our children’s education, we are increasing funding to a keep hundreds of nuclear bombs in operation that we will never use," Quigley said on the House floor. "The Cold War is over."
The DOE requested about $537 million for the B61 Life Extension Programs, but the GOP-led House Appropriations Committee provided $23.7 million more than the department asked for. In a report, the committee explained the nuclear program had its funding boosted because it had a "troubling history of insufficiently planning for its ongoing production requirements."
Polis noted that the Air Force had recently doubted the effectiveness of the B61 nuclear bomb. A former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the bomb was virtually useless, Polis explained. In addition, some European allies no longer wanted the bomb deployed in their country.
"There is no reason we should spend more and more taxpayer dollars on programs that are not even needed or wanted by our NATO allies."
Overall, the water and energy program funding bill provides $7.675 billion, an increase of $98 million above fiscal year 2013, for nuclear weapons while cutting $2.9 billion from other programs.