In Letter, Senators Express Frustration with Unconstitutional Pursuit of Nuclear Testing Treaty
Sep 12 2016
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) joined U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and a group of 31 other senators last week in urging President Obama not to bypass the Senate in order to seek United Nations Security Council endorsement of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). In the letter, the senators warn they may withhold key funding if the president acts unilaterally. The latest news that North Korea on Friday conducted its fifth known nuclear test underscores the importance of this issue.
“This administration’s ‘strategic patience’ approach has failed to rein in North Korea’s hostile nuclear weapons program,” said Sen. Moran. “The communist regime’s recent nuclear test – the fourth on the president’s watch – is just the latest example. North Korea and Iran are among the countries with nuclear programs that have not signed the CTBT and would not follow the same rules we do. The United States has not conducted a nuclear test since 1992, but permanently prohibiting future testing when it may be required for our nation’s safety is a debate that rightfully belongs to the Senate chosen by the American people.”
The Constitution “limits the President’s power to make treaties subject to the advice and consent of the Senate,” wrote the senators. “It is thus disturbing that your Administration appears to be trying to circumvent the Senate’s constitutional treaty role, this time by seeking to use the United Nations Security Council to endorse the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which the Senate rejected in 1999.”
The letter makes it clear that “Seeking a U.N. Security Council Resolution to limit or prohibit nuclear weapons testing would be an unconstitutional assertion of Executive authority and an abuse of the separation of powers,” and seeks answers to seven questions regarding the administration’s ongoing negotiations.
Sen. Moran spoke on the Senate floor in February about Congress’ role curtailing nuclear proliferation and testing – particularly to denounce and focus attention on North Korea’s immediate nuclear aspirations. Last month, the Obama administration announced its intent to bypass Congress and unilaterally push for U.N. action.
The full text of the letter may be found here.
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