February 20, 2019

Van Hollen Announces Bill to Halt Trump Administration’s Nuclear Escalation

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) announced legislation that 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 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty during the six month withdrawal period. This legislation, the Preserving Arms Control Treaties (PACT) Act, will prohibit the Administration from any near-term steps to further exacerbate the INF crisis and strain relations with our NATO allies. In addition, the legislation requires 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, providing much-needed oversight of the Administration’s withdrawal from the treaty.

“The President’s decision to withdraw from the INF treaty was reckless and deeply short-sighted – and at every turn, it represents a win for Moscow. To prevent further harm to our national security interests, this Administration must immediately assure our allies and the world that we do not seek to further escalate tensions, and that we have a plan going forward,” said Senator Van Hollen. “This legislation requires the Administration to take a pause and present its strategy to bring Russia back to the table. I urge my colleagues to take it up immediately.”

Senator Van Hollen is announcing this legislation as he spends the week meeting with our NATO Allies in Europe at the Munich Security Conference and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly Winter Meeting as part of a bipartisan Congressional delegation. The trip also includes diplomatic meetings in France and Cyprus. Senator Van Hollen is a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and also serves on the Senate NATO Observer Group and as Co-Chair of the Senate Foreign Service Caucus. Decades ago he worked on the ratification of the INF Treaty as a staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

A one-page summary of Senator Van Hollen’s PACT Act is available here.