Tauscher introduces test-ban treaty bill

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, introduced a bill today calling on the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. While 140 nations have signed and ratified the treaty since 1996, the United States is one of only 10 remaining nations, including Syria and North Korea, which have not yet done so — and it can’t take effect without us.

“There is no bigger threat than a nuclear weapon in the wrong hands,” Tauscher, who chairs the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said in a news release. “This legislation is an opportunity to for the United States to stand up for the basic principles of non-proliferation. In a dangerous world where new and emerging threats make themselves known every day, the U.S. needs to be the moral and diplomatic leader on this critical international security issue.”

The treaty bans “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion,” and so is meant to help block development of new types of nuclear warheads by existing nuclear-weapons states — such as the U.S., China, Russia, India, and Pakistan — while also impeding development of smaller, more easily deliverable warheads by nuclear wanna-bes such as North Korea and Iran.

The omnibus budget deal just struck by Congress contains a slight increase, to $24 million, for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization: the international organization established by the treaty’s signers in 1996, charged with carrying out necessary preparations for the treaty’s implementation; working to create the 337-facility International Monitoring System plus the International Data Center; and developing operational manuals including those to be used for on-site inspections.

“This is a very good step,” Tauscher said. “My legislation coupled with this increase in funding sets us in the right direction toward a national re-commitment to non-proliferation standards.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.