Biden shouldn’t give up his sole nuclear authority, Republican lawmakers say


Three Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee issued a statement Wednesday rejecting the Democrats’ letter to President Biden urging him to resign from his sole nuclear authority.

Conference chair Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, prominent member Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, and prominent subcommittee Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said such a move “would leave Americans vulnerable.”

“Dangerous efforts by Democrats suggesting a restructuring of our nuclear command and control process will undermine American security, as well as the security of our allies,” Republicans said in a statement. “These proposals, if enacted, would leave Americans vulnerable, destabilize the nuclear balance, and shake our allies’ confidence in the nuclear umbrella.”

The statement added that revoking the president’s nuclear capabilities would be welcomed by adversaries with nuclear powers, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“The ability to take action during an attack is imperative to deter a pre-emptive attack by our adversaries. The United States must never adopt policies or create bureaucratic impediments that give our adversaries an advantage,” the statement said.

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Cheney emphasized the importance of the country’s nuclear capabilities in a speech Tuesday.

“Similarly, adopting any policy that restricts America’s ability to defend us, such as the ‘do not use first’ policy with respect to our nuclear forces, would seriously undermine our deterrence and make the world that much more dangerous.” he said during a speech. Speech Tuesday at the Reagan Institute, adding that the United States “should never adopt policies that restrict our exercise of power while our adversaries do the opposite.”

A military aide carries the so-called 'football', a case with the nuclear weapons launch codes, onto Marine One. (Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

A military aide carries the so-called ‘football’, a case with the nuclear weapons launch codes, onto Marine One. (Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

About three dozen House Democrats signed a letter asking Biden to relinquish his sole authority to launch nuclear weapons, according to a Politico report on Wednesday. A promise by the president to renounce his nuclear capabilities as commander-in-chief could take that same power away from future presidents.

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“Conferring this authority on a person carries real risks,” reads the letter from Rep. Jimmy Panetta, Democrat of California, obtained by Politico. “Previous presidents have threatened to attack other countries with nuclear weapons or have displayed behavior that caused other officials to express concern about the president’s judgment.”

The congressman said on a Monday cheep you’re “asking” Biden “to install controls [and] balances in our nuclear command and control structure. “

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The Democrats who signed the letter offered some alternatives to the single nuclear authority, such as requiring the vice president and the speaker of the House to agree to a release order from the president before it is executed, according to Politico.

Presidents have continually passed a briefcase containing all the materials necessary to mark a nuclear attack using a specific code, often referred to as “nuclear football.”

Democrats previously expressed concern that former President Trump has access to that power. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in January, for example, that she spoke with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, about protecting nuclear codes from a “deranged president.”



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