Taking away the keys.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A House panel voted Wednesday to limit President Barack Obama’s authority to reduce the nation’s nuclear arsenal and implement a U.S.-Russia arms control treaty overwhelmingly approved by the Senate last December.
Over the objections of the Defense Department and Democrats, the House Armed Services Committee approved a series of amendments directly related to the commander in chief’s ability to make nuclear weapons reductions.
By a 35-26 vote, the Republican-controlled panel approved an amendment that would prohibit money to take nuclear weapons out of operation unless the administration provides a report to Congress on how it plans to modernize the remaining weapons. The panel also adopted an amendment that says the president may not change the target list or move weapons out of Europe until he reports to Congress.
The measures passed by similar votes.
The New START treaty, signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April 2010, would limit each country’s strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, down from the current ceiling of 2,200. It also would establish a system for monitoring and verification. U.S. weapons inspections ended in 2009 with the expiration of a 1991 treaty.
START stands for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
The Senate approved the treaty on a 71-26 vote, with 13 Republicans breaking with their party leaders.