Senior Obama administration officials are insisting the government is not retreating from its focus on nuclear security despite proposed funding cuts.
The administration’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal, announced last week, would eliminate in excess of $220 million in funding for nuclear security and nonproliferation efforts, USA Today reported on Saturday.
One of the largest requested cuts in nuclear nonproliferation spending would come from the International Material Protection and Cooperation initiative. The administration is seeking just $305.5 million for the program, compared to the $419.5 million appropriated for the current fiscal cycle. The administration is also requesting $108 million less than current appropriated levels for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said the decline in requested nonproliferation funding is due to an administration determination to mothball a controversial effort to construct a mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility that would convert excess plutonium into nuclear-reactor fuel.
The decision to shelve the MOX facility in South Carolina explains 54 percent of the reduction in sought-after nonproliferation funds.
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, the White House’s point person on weapons of mass destruction, in a recent talk at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, rejected any suggestion that the administration is less focused on global nuclear security.
“I don’t think there is a problem with complacency,” she said. “We are seized with this challenge — with preventing sensitive materials from falling into the hands of terrorists or others who could use it to do us harm.”
Still, some arms control advocates question the Obama administration’s commitment to nuclear security.
“What I take away from this budget is that there was a lack of leadership in trying to maintain the prioritization of the funding of this issue,” said Partnership for Global Security President Kenneth Luongo. “The signal is we are in retreat on this issue, and I think that is a huge mistake.”
What We're Following See More »
"According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the first national post-debate survey, 43 percent of registered voters said the Democratic candidate won, compared with 26 percent who opted for the Republican Party’s standard bearer. Her 6-point lead over Trump among likely voters is unchanged from our previous survey: Clinton still leads Trump 42 percent to 36 percent in the race for the White House, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson taking 9 percent of the vote."
After a lighthearted beginning, Donald Trump's appearance at the Al Smith charity dinner in New York "took a tough turn as the crowd repeatedly booed the GOP nominee for his sharp-edged jokes about his rival Hillary Clinton."
Evan McMullin came out on top in a Emerson College poll of Utah with 31% of the vote. Donald Trump came in second with 27%, while Hillary Clinton took third with 24%. Gary Johnson received 5% of the vote in the survey.
A new Quinnipiac University poll finds Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by seven percentage points, 47%-40%. Trump’s “lead among men and white voters all but” vanished from the university’s early October poll. A new PPRI/Brookings survey shows a much bigger lead, with Clinton up 51%-36%. And an IBD/TIPP poll leans the other way, showing a virtual dead heat, with Trump taking 41% of the vote to Clinton’s 40% in a four-way matchup.