Sending Office: Committee on Foreign Affairs
I write to encourage you to vote in favor of amendment #506 to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which calls for an extension of the New START Treaty to ensure that we maintain strong and verifiable limits on Russia’s nuclear forces.
In addition to having a robust nuclear deterrent, arms control has been a pillar of bipartisan American security since the Cold War. Both Democrats and Republicans alike have effectively used arms control agreements to constrain Russia’s nuclear forces,
and to ensure we have eyes on the ground in Russia. The New START Treaty is set to expire in a year and a half. It can be extended another five years, until 2026, if the United States and Russia agree to do so. If the Treaty is allowed to expire, we would
have no limits at all on Russia’s nuclear forces for the first time since 1972.
New START not only limits Russia’s nuclear arsenal, but also gives the United States military and intelligence community the unparalleled ability to verify Russian systems and gather information on Russia’s nuclear weapons complex. This treaty has won the
praise of diplomats and defense and intelligence officials as a critical tool for advancing our national security interests.
This amendment sets out what should be a commonsense approach. It says that as long as Russia remains in compliance with the Treaty, the Administration should work to extend the New START Treaty—unless the Administration can complete a replacement agreement
with equal or greater constraints on the Russians. The amendment also requires a series of reports from the Administration on potential consequences if the treaty lapses—and requires the President to present a plan to Congress on how to deal with these consequences.
While the Trump Administration has said it may want to negotiate a new arms control treaty, in the meantime it is critical that we extend New START, as we cannot allow Russia free rein to expand its nuclear forces.
Eliot L. Engel
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
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