Don’t let the president start an atomic war!

Bill would ban ‘first-use nuclear strike’
unless Congress formally authorized it

Legislation pending in Congress would prohibit a president from using the armed forces “to conduct a first-use nuclear strike unless such strike is conducted pursuant to a declaration of war by Congress that expressly authorized such strike.” It is in the form of twin bills, H.R. (House Resolution) 669 and the identically worded S. (Senate) 200.

It defines “first-use nuclear strike” as “an attack using nuclear weapons against an enemy that is conducted without the President determining that the enemy has first launched a nuclear strike against the United States or an ally of the United States.” It has flaws: It lets him bomb if he errs or lies that “the enemy has launched a nuclear strike” — even on an “ally.” But it might inhibit arbitrary bomb-dropping.

On Jan. 24, 2017, Rep. Ted Lieu of California’s 33rd Congressional District, Los Angeles, introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts did so in the Senate. The twin bills (see more excerpts below) were referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, respectively. There they rest.

An obstacle to passage — and how you can help

Problem: Lieu and Markey are Democrats. They have 29 and 4 cosponsors, respectively, but none are Republicans (as of 5/1/17). The 115th Congress is GOP-controlled, so unless either bill gets support from members in that party, the measure dies. The Republicans listed below may possibly be interested.

If you have a Republican representative or senator — especially one in these lists — ask him or her to be a cosponsor. Or if you know people living in these districts or states, encourage them to ask.

House  (State; district number; member’s name; city of district office; Washington, DC, phone; & web address follow.)
California 48th, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Huntington Beach, 202-225-2415,
Kentucky 4th, Rep. Thomas Massie, Ashland and Fort Mitchell, 202-225-3465,
Michigan 3rd, Rep. Justin Amash, Grand Rapids, 202-225-3831,
North Carolina 3rd, Rep. Walter B. Jones, Greenville, 202-225-3415,
Tennessee 2nd, Rep. John J. Duncan, Knoxville, 202-225-5435,
Utah 3rd, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Provo, 202-225-7751,

Some of the bill’s ‘findings’

“The Constitution gives Congress the sole power to declare war…. The framers … understood that the monumental decision to go to war … must be made by the representatives of the people and not by a single person…. Nuclear weapons have the capability to instantly kill millions of people … [and] risk retaliatory nuclear strikes…. A first-use nuclear strike … a major act of war … conducted absent a declaration of war would violate the Constitution.” (See for full text & much more info.)

WAR and LAW League (WALL)