Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Warns of New Cold War, Nuclear Tensions as House Debates Defense Bill

July 20, 2020
Press Release
Washington, DC—Today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke during the debate on the annual national defense bill to support two separate measures that would prevent authorization of funds to be used on nuclear yield testing and oppose the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty.
 
The amendment addressing nuclear testing passed by a vote of 227-179 and the amendment addressing the Open Skies Treaty passed by voice vote. Both will now be considered as part of the complete bill on which the House will vote.
 
“The people of Hawai’i are all too familiar with the seriousness of a nuclear threat. Over the past few years we have seen our nation’s leaders march us towards a new Cold War. President Trump’s recent withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty and his plans to violate the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty are just two of his many actions that are pushing us closer to the brink of nuclear catastrophe,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “We must take action to halt the Trump Administration from leading us down this dangerous path of a new cold war and nuclear arms race.”
 
Her remarks can be viewed online and a transcription of her remarks follows:
 
 
“Thank you Mr. Speaker. We’re living in very dangerous times. Yes, we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, which should be inspiring our nation's leaders to de-escalate tensions with other countries; work with world leaders to defeat this disease that threatens us all.
 
“But that’s not what we’re seeing. Instead, we’re seeing increasing tensions and a new cold war being waged on two fronts between the U.S. and China and Russia with thousands of nuclear-armed missiles at the ready.
 
“Instead of de-escalating tensions, the Trump Administration is making things worse by tearing up the INF Treaty, ending the Open Skies Treaty, making no effort to renew the NEW START Treaty, and dangerously moving to violate the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which if allowed, would only encourage other countries like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and many others to develop or to increase nuclear weapons capability, rapidly increasing the proliferation of these nuclear weapons and a nuclear arms race around the world.
 
“This puts us all at risk, because there is only one outcome to this escalation of tensions and a nuclear arms race and that is total destruction of our world. I urge my colleagues to support this critical amendment.” 
 
 
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Unfortunately the Trump Administration has withdrawn from historic international treaties and agreements that previous leaders of our country have negotiated. Where instead of walking away from what were deemed impossible agreements at that time, they actually did the work necessary to make our country and the world a safer place. The Open Skies Treaty was negotiated by President George H.W. Bush to reduce the chances of accidental nuclear war by providing transparency and confidence.
 
“President Trump’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty has made our world a less safe place, in addition to his withdrawal from the INF Treaty and his failure to renew the NEW START Treaty. He has pushed us into a new cold war that has led the American people to the brink of nuclear catastrophe.
 
“These consequences are unacceptable for the American people. I urge my colleagues to support this important amendment.”
 
Background: In May, it was reported that senior Trump administration officials at a White House meeting earlier this month discussed conducting a nuclear test, which has not been done since 1992. The Department of Energy certifies annually that nuclear testing is not necessary to verify the credibility of our stockpile.
 
In June, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01) in introducing H.R.7140, the Preserving Leadership Against Nuclear Explosives Testing (PLANET) Act. This legislation would prevent the Trump Administration from restarting explosive nuclear weapons testing.
 
The Open Skies Treaty permits countries party to the agreement to conduct unarmed reconnaissance flights over the entire territories of other countries party to the agreement, on short-notice, in order to collect data on military forces and activities. The treaty is also aimed at building confidence and familiarity among states-parties through their participation in the overflights. The treaty was signed in March 1992 and went into effect in January 2002.
 
The Trump Administration issued a formal notice to unilaterally withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty at the end of May. It did so without providing notice to Congress as was required according to last year’s annual defense bill and did so without citing any breach of the treaty to justify the move — as noted in today’s amendment supported by Rep. Gabbard.
 
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been outspoken in Congress on preventing nuclear proliferation and the need to protect life from nuclear war.
 
Last year, she voted against the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act in part because the bill increased the threat of nuclear war by prohibiting the reduction of deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles and their alert level as well as funding the Low Yield nuclear program — something prohibited in the version of the bill passed by the House. 
 
In February 2019, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced H.R.1249, the INF Treaty Compliance Act. The bill would prohibit the use of any taxpayer dollars for weapons that violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The bill received support from a broad coalition of peace organizations
 
 
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for over 17 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
 
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