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Bush wants More Cash for Nukes

While much of the world is working toward nuclear disarmament, the Bush Administration has 
asked Congress to fund the first new U.S. nuclear weapons in two decades and requested
additional funding to build a new nuclear bomb making plant.
The budget makes military spending and the Iraq war its focus, proposing a 7.5 per cent increase
for the Pentagon. Military expenditure will top $515bn – plus $70bn more for the conflicts in
Iraq and Afghanistan. The President's Annual Budget requested $10 million for the Reliable
Replacement Warhead (RRW) program and $100 million to begin construction on a new plutonium pit
facility.

"This administration just doesn't seem to get the message. Congress and the people of this country do not want these new weapons," said Devin Helfrich, a lobbyist on nuclear disarmament for the Friends Committee on National Legislation,

While much of the world is working toward nuclear disarmament, the Bush Administration has 
asked Congress to fund the first new U.S. nuclear weapons in two decades and requested
additional funding to build a new nuclear bomb making plant.
The budget makes military spending and the Iraq war its focus, proposing a 7.5 per cent increase
for the Pentagon. Military expenditure will top $515bn – plus $70bn more for the conflicts in
Iraq and Afghanistan. The President's Annual Budget requested $10 million for the Reliable
Replacement Warhead (RRW) program and $100 million to begin construction on a new plutonium pit
facility.

"This administration just doesn't seem to get the message. Congress and the people of this country do not want these new weapons," said Devin Helfrich, a lobbyist on nuclear disarmament for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Quaker peace lobby that helped lead lobbying efforts to defeat the RRW program in Congress. "The arms control community has
consistently opposed these nuclear weapons as immoral, unnecessary, and inconsistent with U.S. international commitments to work toward universal disarmament," Helfrich added. Last year, Congress zeroed out funding for the RRW program and refused to provide any support for building a previously proposed mega-scale nuclear bomb plant. Yet the administration is again requesting funding for RRW and a new bomb plant.

The RRW program, which is described by supporters as part of a broader modernization plan for the U.S. nuclear infrastructure, consisted of a series of new warheads designed to replace the  current U.S. nuclear arsenal in phases. The administration request for $100 million to build a new facility to manufacture the plutonium pits, or triggers used in nuclear weapons, is a scaled down version of the larger proposal for a new bomb plant that was defeated in Congress last year.

The request for new money to build nuclear weapons comes less than a month after former Secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz joined former Senator Sam Nunn and former Secretary of Defense William Perry in calling for the U.S. to work toward "the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons"

The budget proposes significant cuts in highway funding, heating assistance for the poor and Medicare. However, given Democrat majorities in both houses, many of the priorities of the Bush budget will be jettisoned by Congress, leaving the important decisions on economic policy to the next president who will be elected in November and take the oath of office in January.