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Congress Should Stop Funding Unneeded Nuclear Programs

The House is voting today on two amendments that will cut funding to two nuclear programs that the Project On Government Oversight has opposed as examples of wasteful spending.

The Quigley-Polis amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill would trim $23.7 million dollars from the B61 nuclear program, which has consistently grown in size and cost despite questions about the military effectiveness of the weapon. POGO is particularly concerned with the funding of the program in Europe.

In February 2012, POGO sent a letter to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asking him to stop spending money on B61s in Europe and save taxpayers more than $2 billion dollars.

In April 2013, POGO reiterated its position in a letter to current Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, stating that the program is no longer effective or relevant, and the U.S. taxpayer should not be responsible for the costs of maintaining nuclear weapons capability in Europe.

The Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) program is another troubled program with spiraling cost. The Blumenauer-Garamendi amendment to the same appropriations bill would redirect $30 million from the planned MOX facility towards the Nonproliferation and International Security and the Global Threat Reduction Initiative accounts.

In March 2012, POGO signed on to a letter urging Congress to cut funding from the MOX program and redirect the money towards nuclear nonproliferation programs. The letter raised questions about the 200 percent increase in the cost of the MOX plant over two years.

In February 2013, POGO and Taxpayers for Common Sense sent a statement to President Obama supporting funding cuts for a MOX facility in South Carolina and recommending that the MOX program is cut altogether. Just days later, a Government Accountability Office report revealed that the cost of the MOX program was nearly $2 billion dollars more than expected.

Congress must stop funding programs that the administration doesn’t want or need. Both of these nuclear programs are clear examples of irresponsible and wasteful government so although they ultimately should be eliminated, we are pleased that Congress is taking steps to defund them. For more, see the video above.