Washington D.C.— Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), Lead Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Representative Eliot L. Engel, the Committee’s Chairman, yesterday introduced legislation calling on the Trump Administration to retain limits on Russia’s nuclear forces. The “Richard G. Lugar and Ellen O. Tauscher Act to Maintain Limits on Russian Nuclear Forces” calls for an extension of New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) limits on Russia until 2026, as allowed under the Treaty, unless Russia violates the Treaty or until a new agreement in is in place that provides equal or greater constraints, transparency, and verification measures with regard to Russia’s nuclear forces.

“The New START Treaty has aided global security for nearly a decade, limiting Russia’s ability to deploy nuclear weapons. So long as Russia remains compliant, it’s in America’s national security interest to extend this Treaty because it will help prevent Vladimir Putin from enhancing his arsenal. Specifically, our legislation encourages the Administration to negotiate an extension to the New START Treaty, as long as it maintains the strongest possible enforcement and verification methods. If Russia is serious about reducing the threat of nuclear weapons use, its leaders should take this opportunity and prove their commitment to nuclear non-proliferation,” said Lead Republican McCaul.

“Vladimir Putin’s aggression against the United States and our allies demands that we take all possible steps to defend our national security from Russian actions. This bill sets out to achieve the same goals that Senator Lugar and Representative Tauscher prioritized in their public service: the responsible control of Russian arms to ensure the United States’ ability to maintain a strong nuclear deterrent. I encourage all my colleagues to support this measure and join me in honoring the achievements of two of our own by supporting this legislation,” said Chairman Engel.

The New START Treaty caps Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, but limits will expire in 2021 absent Administration action.

The bill is named in honor of Senator Richard Lugar and Representative Ellen Tauscher, who led arms control and nonproliferation efforts in Congress.

Full text of the bill can be found here.