What: All Issues : War & Peace : Nuclear Weapons : H.R. 1588. Fiscal 2004 Defense Authorization/Vote to Transfer Funding for the Development of "Low-Yield" Nuclear Weapons into Conventional Weapons Research. (2003 house Roll Call 216)
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H.R. 1588. Fiscal 2004 Defense Authorization/Vote to Transfer Funding for the Development of "Low-Yield" Nuclear Weapons into Conventional Weapons Research.
house Roll Call 216     May 22, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

The Bush Administration has made clear its desire to develop so-called "low-yield" nuclear weapons (in contrast "highyield" nuclear weapons such as the hydrogen bomb, low-yield weapons would have limited explosive capabilities and could be used to eradicate concentrated targets). "Low-yield" nuclear weapons, the administration argued, are needed to explode underground targets containing chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons or terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden. In the 2004 defense authorization bill, $15 million was provided for the development of "earth penetrator" weapons-lowyield nuclear weapons designed to explode underground targets-and $6 million in research funding to develop low-yield nuclear weapons for other purposes. During debate on the defense authorization bill, Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (DCA) proposed an amendment which would have transferred the $21 million designated for low-yield nuclear weapons research and development into conventional weapons research programs. Progressives supported Tauscher's proposal because, in their view, developing new uses for nuclear weapons poses grave risks to humans and the environment; conventional weapons, Progressives argued, would be just as effective as low-yield nuclear weapons in destroying underground targets. Progressives also contended that providing funds for nuclear weapons research could encourage other countries to develop nuclear arsenals of their own, thereby triggering a second nuclear arms race (the first nuclear arms race occurred during the Cold War between the U.S. and U.S.S.R.). The Tauscher amendment was defeated on a tally of 199-226.

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