June 20, 2012
By Jonathan Fleck
From the Albuquerque Journal
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., sent a letter this week to the White House with a 32 co-signers calling for a veto of the House’s 2013 defense authorization bill over over its nuclear weapons language.
Caveat: this is theater. The White House has already signaled a willingness to veto the bill, but the language in question is not in the corresponding Senate bill, and will not be “real” until a House-Senate conference. Whenever that might happen. So in theatrical terms, this is timely, but in real legislative terms, it is not.
Markey and company’s theatrics is focused on language that in essence would block nuclear weapons stockpile reductions if the federal government doesn’t move forward on a proposed plutonium lab at Los Alamos, the bollixed up Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement-Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF).
The Obama administration sorta promised CMRR-NF as part of the Senate’s approval of the New START nuclear arms deal wit the Russians. But in its 2013 budget request, the administration said the deep federal spending cuts mandated by last year’s bipartisan budget reconciliation deal meant CMRR-NF had to be indefinitely deferred, and that the National Nuclear Security Administration had decided it didn’t really need this anyway.