March 15, 2019

Van Hollen Statement on New Pentagon Arms Development

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen released the following statement regarding the Pentagon’s announcement this week that it has begun building parts for a new conventional ground-launched cruise missile and is in the process of developing an intermediate-range ballistic missile with a conventional warhead — two actions that are a result of the Trump Administration’s reckless decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty:

“I am deeply disturbed by the Trump Administration’s most recent moves to escalate tensions with Russia. The Pentagon’s decision to develop these weapons, which violate the INF Treaty, makes the world less secure. What’s more, the development of new, unnecessary weapons strains relations with our allies, who want to avert another arms race. Now more than ever, Congress needs to act quickly to pass the PACT Act — I will continue working to hold the Administration accountable.”

Senator Van Hollen’s PACT Act would prevent these kinds of actions by unconditionally restricting the use of funds for activities prohibited under the INF Treaty during the six month withdrawal period. This bill would stop 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.