Three Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee said that President Joe Biden should not give up his sole nuclear authority, coming after several-dozen Democrats said the sole presidential authority should be altered.
“Democrats’ dangerous efforts suggesting a restructuring of our nuclear command and control process will undermine American security, as well as the security of our allies,” said Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), and Mike Turner (R-Ohio).
They added that Democrats’ “proposals, if enacted, would leave Americans vulnerable, destabilize the nuclear balance, and shake our allies’ confidence in the nuclear umbrella.”
Going further, they said that such changes to Biden’s authority would please Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The ability to take action during an attack is imperative to deterring a preemptive strike from our adversaries. America should never adopt policies or create bureaucratic impediments that would give our adversaries an advantage,” the statement said.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) described the letter from Democrats as “weird,” adding that “the president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.”
“Who are they going to give [the nuclear codes] to?” asked Lee on Fox News. “A committee run by Congress? In addition to being wildly unconstitutional, this would be horrible policy. Remember what happens when you put a committee in charge of protecting the Capitol? That didn’t end so well, either.”
Earlier this week, Democrats led by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) argued that giving that power to one person creates “real risks” to U.S. national security.
“Past presidents have threatened to attack other countries with nuclear weapons or exhibited behavior that caused other officials to express concern about the president’s judgment,” they said in a letter, which was signed by about 30 Democratic lawmakers. The letter then laid out a series of changes to the presidential nuclear-strike operational procedures.
“While any president would presumably consult with advisors before ordering a nuclear attack, there is no requirement to do so. The military is obligated to carry out the order if they assess it is legal under the laws of war,” the letter continued. “Under the current posture of U.S. nuclear forces, that attack would happen in minutes.”
Their proposal entails allowing more officials, including the vice president and House speaker, to agree with a presidential nuclear launch order.
They also suggested “requiring certifications from the secretary of defense that the launch order is valid and from the attorney general that it is legal,” and it would require a congressional declaration of war or another specific authorization effort from Congress.
Typically, a military aide shadows the president and has a black briefcase known as the “nuclear football.” A president is legally able to order a nuclear attack with the United States’ arsenal of weapons, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched missiles, or via strategic bombers.
The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House for comment.