FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sean Harder, 319-455-6397 or email@example.com
The Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG), a coalition of leading nuclear security experts, is calling on the 112th Congress to immediately work to restore funding for key nuclear terrorism programs cut in the waning days of the lame duck session.
With the objective of securing all vulnerable nuclear materials worldwide in four years, President Obama asked for an increase of $320 million in fiscal year 2011 (FY11) for key National Nuclear Security Administration and Department of Defense programs that support the four-year effort. The Defense Authorization Act approved the full request, but the appropriations were dropped at the last minute in the Continuing Resolution (CR) Congress passed.
“With enough material out there to make over 120,000 more nuclear bombs, and with bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House, it is shocking that nuclear nonproliferation programs got cut in the Continuing Resolution,” said Alexandra Toma, executive director of the Connect U.S. Fund and co-chair of the FMWG. “In the dead of night, these provisions were removed and now our country is less safe because of it.”
The first Obama budget for FY10 funded these key programs at $40 million below the last Bush administration budget, and that is what is now enshrined in the CR. That sends the wrong signal about the US commitment to preventing nuclear terrorism, said Kenneth Luongo, president of the Partnership for Global Security and FMWG co-chair.
"We need to keep the potential tools of terrorists in secure hands and restore FY11 funding for all nonproliferation programs in Defense, Energy and State," said Dr. Paul Walker, director of Security and Sustainability at Global Green USA, an FMWG member.
Congress has another opportunity to increase the funding before the CR expires in March.
The FMWG is a coalition of more than 40 U.S. experts representing many of the top nonproliferation and nuclear security organizations in the country and also includes more than a dozen international partner organizations. Members work to promote practical and achievable policy initiatives to secure vulnerable nuclear materials and prevent nuclear terrorism.
For more information, visit www.fmwg.org.