“The appropriations bill released by the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee contains a $1.1 billion reduction in funding for the Defense Activities of the Department of Energy from the levels authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act passed last week by the House. This is a large reduction, which would negatively impact programs to modernize our nuclear security infrastructure and refurbish our aging nuclear weapons.
“However, it comes as a surprise since House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget resolution which passed the House ‘addresses to reverse the pattern [of underinvestment in the nuclear weapons complex] by prioritizing the nuclear modernization work of the National Nuclear Security Administration.’ I fully recognize and appreciate the fiscal challenges we face. They are not easily overcome. In the face of these challenges we must set priorities, and our top priority must be the defense of the nation.
“The next few years are an important time for our strategic deterrent—we will either provide for a robust deterrent force, or allow our current forces to age and deteriorate. Our strategic deterrent provides the ultimate guarantee of our defense and that of our allies. This fact needs to be taken into account as we continue the budget and appropriations processes.”