March 07, 2019

Support Grows for Van Hollen’s PACT Act

Legislation to Halt Trump Administration’s Nuclear Escalation Endorsed by Outside Groups

Today U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) announced support for his Preserving Arms Control Treaties (PACT) Act from a wide array of outside groups. In response to the Administration’s reckless and deeply short-sighted decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, this legislation would:

  • prevent the Trump Administration from taking any action to escalate nuclear tensions by unconditionally restricting the use of funds for activities prohibited under the INF Treaty during the six-month withdrawal period;
  • prohibit the Administration from any near-term steps to further exacerbate the INF crisis and strain relations with our NATO allies; and
  • require that the Trump Administration report on measures that the U.S. is pursuing to hold the Russian Federation accountable for its violations and to bring it back into compliance with the INF Treaty.

In addition to Senator Van Hollen, the legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

Regarding the PACT Act, the Arms Control Association said, “We strongly support the bill introduced by Senator Van Hollen and others which is designed to guard against dangers of blowing up the INF Treaty with no plan in place to prevent the unconstrained deployment of Russian intermediate-range missiles that can threaten Europe. The bill highlights the fact that diplomatic options to bring Russia back into compliance have not been exhausted and it underscores the urgent need for an effective arms control plan to avert a dangerous new Euromissile race.”

Additionally, the Ploughshares Fund said, “As President Trump tries to build one wall along the southern border, he is dismantling another, more important wall. This wall prevents a new nuclear arms race, and is built from international agreements such as the 1987 INF Treaty, which Trump has vowed to tear up. Congress cannot prevent President Trump from withdrawing from the INF Treaty, but it can stop him from violating the treaty during the six-month withdrawal period. This legislation would do just that, and thereby help stop President Trump from starting a new nuclear arms race. Such a race cannot be won, and would only waste billions of dollars and risk millions of lives. Ploughshares Fund thanks Senator Van Hollen for his leadership on this crucial issue.” 

And Council for a Livable World said, “Council for a Livable World strongly endorses Sen. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-Md.) bill to prohibit for six months the Administration’s use of funds for new nuclear weapons prohibited under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. During the six months before the U.S. formally withdraws from the treaty, the measure would block steps that might unnecessarily exacerbate the INF crisis and strain relations with our NATO allies. The Council urges the administration in that time to use concerted and good faith efforts to negotiate compliance issues with Russia.”