Members of Congress Call on the U.S. to Join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

WASHINGTON,D.C.—Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA), alongside Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Eleanor Norton (D-DC), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), held a press conference last week calling on the U.S. to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The TPNW was adopted by 122 countries in July, 2017 and it is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons. Watch the Livestream Here

The press conference was held with advocates from NuclearBan.US and other organizations and in conjunction with the first-ever meeting of state parties to the treaty in Vienna, Austria to review progress towards implementation. The TPNW bans the development, testing, production, acquisition, possession, stockpile, use of or the threat of use of nuclear weapons.

“Unless the nuclear powers, including the United States, demonstrate the resolve to address the serious existential threats facing the world right now, we cannot expect a world that lives in peace,” said Rep. McGovern. “The United States and all nuclear powers must renew negotiations to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons. For the sake of all people, around the world, we must end the existence of nuclear weapons on this planet, before nuclear weapons end the existence of human life on this planet.”

“The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a historic step towards a world free from the existential threat these weapons pose,” said Representative Blumenauer. “These are weapons we can never use, and can’t afford. The United States must urgently join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and fully commit to denuclearization. I will continue fighting for a more rational U.S. nuclear posture in Congress with the goal of ridding the world of these weapons altogether. ”

“Our country and the world have a long list of urgent needs that have been put on the back burner,” Norton said. “America is the only nation that has used nuclear weapons in war. We possess one of the largest nuclear weapons arsenals, but the Nuclear Disarmament Treaty would help the United States reestablish its moral leadership in the world by redirecting funds that would otherwise go to nuclear weapons to urgent needs. I urge members of Congress and leaders around the world to support the Treaty.”

“The Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group, which I established with colleagues last year, firmly believes that reversing dangerous competition through diplomacy and reducing the role of nuclear weapons would lead us to a world where nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to humanity,” said Representative Beyer. “We should do everything we can to get there, and signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons would be a great way to start. This is an important and meaningful step we could take towards a safer world, and I thank Rep. McGovern and my colleagues for their leadership on this initiative.”

“As a child of war, I know what death and destruction looks like.  The trauma of war will never leave me. The use of nuclear weapons poses a threat to every human on the planet. Nuclear weapons are the most catastrophic, dangerous weapons ever created.  These weapons cause widespread humanitarian and environmental damage, impacting everyone, regardless of the target.  With the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the US withdrawal from the Iran deal, threat of nuclear war is more real now than it has been for previous decades.  The complete elimination of nuclear weapons is the only solution for a safer and more peaceful world.  That’s why I am proud to join Rep. Jim McGovern to call for the United States to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons alongside more than 120 countries.  When we say we champion human rights and peace, we should mean it,” said Representative Omar.

“These legislators believe that those billions of taxpayer dollars could be better spent on green technologies and other pressing human needs. They know that ‘keeping a few nukes for deterrence’ is just as morally corrupt and dangerous as keeping all of them, because even one, detonated on purpose or by accident, could cause destruction and suffering beyond what any of us want to imagine,” said Vicki Elson of NuclearBan.US “These people are not fooled by the theory that having thousands of climate-wrecking, civilian-slaughtering, accident-prone, hair-trigger weapons of mass extinction is somehow keeping us safe.”