Democrats in the Senate are reportedly pressuring the Biden administration to cut funding for nuclear missile modernization efforts.
Meanwhile, both Russia and China continue to develop their own advanced missile programs.
In a letter reportedly obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, both Democratic Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — the purported authors — are urging national security advisor Jake Sullivan to defund the Minuteman III program, which is aimed at ground-based nuclear missile development.
“We write to express concern regarding [the] President’s FY22 budget requests for nuclear weapon modernization,” the letter reads according to the Free Beacon.
“The high funding levels suggest that the Biden administration embraces its predecessor’s reckless mission to build new nuclear weapons. … We believe that the Trump-era nuclear buildup must be halted.”
These demands come as both China and Russia continue to progress their own advanced missile programs.
According to a July 7 Wall Street Journal report, new satellite images published recently show that “China is building more than 100 new nuclear missile silos in its western desert” in a bid to challenge the United States’ nuclear arsenal.
Similarly, Russia has admitted its own development of such weapons are also aimed at countering the United States’ ability to defend against ballistic missle attacks, according to the Associated Press.
In response to Merkley and Warren’s letter, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana — the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense — confirmed he would continue to “prioritize ongoing nuclear modernization efforts.
“America’s ICBM fleet remains a critical cornerstone of our nuclear triad, providing a widely dispersed target set that complicates any plans by our adversaries — like China and Russia — to threaten the United States,” Tester told the Free Beacon.
“I will continue to prioritize ongoing nuclear modernization efforts, including the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, that are essential to our national security.”