On Wednesday, presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D—MMA), also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D—WA) introduced the No First Use Act. The aptly named bill states, “It is the policy of the United States to not use nuclear weapons first.”
This follows the introduction of a separate bill from Rep. Ted Lieu (D—Calif.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D—Mass.) on Tuesday, which takes a slightly different tack by stipulating that President Trump would need congressional approval before conducting a nuclear first strike.
Long-established policy says that the country holds the right to launch a preemptive nuclear attack, and this authority to call a strike falls solely to the president. President Barack Obama reportedly considered rethinking this policy before departing the Oval Office, according to The Hill. However, he was advised that our enemies may become more aggressive in response.
These bills should come as no surprise—Smith even tried to introduce this same No First Use Act back in November 2017. The launch codes are under the control of a paranoid egomaniac who tweets odd things in the dead of night and is advised by people whom you can charitably say have questionable morals. It’s not a great stretch to worry about Trump’s ability to deploy nuclear weapons at will.
“Our current nuclear strategy is not just outdated—it is dangerous,” a joint statement from Warren and Smith on the bill reads. “By making clear that deterrence is the sole purpose of our arsenal, this bill would reduce the chances of a nuclear miscalculation, and help us maintain our moral and diplomatic leadership in the world.”
Smith’s office clarified in a press release that the U.S. would still reserve the right to use a nuclear strike if the country or one of its allies were hit with a nuclear attack. They also emphasized that the No First Use Act would bolster national security by reducing the likelihood of miscalculation.