Reading Room

Bill Moves Forward to Restrict First Use of a Nuclear Weapon – Help Needed!

February 20, 2017

Author: Marylia Kelley

In January, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA-33) introduced bills to prevent a US President from launching a first use or strike with nuclear weapons without a congressional declaration of war. As it presently stands, President Trump could launch a nuclear weapon on his own at any time - and there is no check or balance anywhere in the system on that power.

The title of the legislation is the “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017.” Senate bill is S. 200 and the House bill is H.R. 669. Co-sponsors are being sought for both.

As of this writing, S. 200 has no co-sponsors, while H.R. 669 has 19 co-sponsors, including 4 from California - John Garamendi (D-CA-31); Barbara Lee (D-CA—13); Karen Bass (D-CA-37); and, Mike Thompson (D-CA-5).

The bills have been referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, respectively.

Tri-Valley CAREs is asking you to make calls today supporting both the Senate bill (S. 200) and the House bill (H.R. 669).

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Or use your browser to connect to your Senator and Representative and send them a personal email. Or, do both!

Tips: Be sure say you are a constituent, state your zip code, tell the staff person the name and number of the bill, whose bill it is (so the staffer knows which office to contact for more information) and clearly request that your Senator or Representative co-sponsor the bill. Additionally, tell the staff person that you wish to be kept informed of any action your Senator or Representative takes on this issue.

And, if your Representative is already listed as a co-sponsor, please call or email him or her to say “thank you.”

Note: In California your Senators are Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. In the 15th District, which includes Livermore, your Rep. is Eric Swalwell. In the 10th District, which includes Tracy, your Rep. is Jeff Denham.

Petition: There is also an on-line petition supporting the bills that you can sign at
More than 28,000 have signed so far. Will you add your name today?

More information:

New York Times: The editorial board of the New York Times has added its support of the Markey-Lieu legislation in an editorial titled, “The Finger on the Nuclear Button.” Read it here