Leahy & McGovern Lead More Than 100 Members Of Congress In Letter Opposing Trump Policy Reversal On Antipersonnel Landmines

WASHINGTON – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) Wednesday headed a congressional oversight letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper expressing opposition to the Trump Administration’s reversal of the policy limiting the use of antipersonnel landmines to the defense of South Korea, and seeking answers to questions on the justification for the reversal and future plans. 

In a letter signed by Leahy, McGovern and over 100 other members of the Senate and the House, they note that “U.S. armed forces have been deployed in multiple protracted conflicts and it is our understanding that since 1991 they have not used these victim-activated weapons . . . In the meantime, due in part to U.S. leadership, the use of antipersonnel mines, and the number of mine casualties, have plummeted.  This decision puts that progress in jeopardy.”

Leahy is the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the longtime leading U.S. officeholder in advancing a global end to the use of antipersonnel landmines.  McGovern, chairman of the House Rules Committee, has long led on this issue in the House.  Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) is the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the authorizing committee for the Department of Defense. 

A copy of their letter can be found here.