WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) released the following statement this afternoon in response to President Bush’s speech at the National Defense University on preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction:
“I have no doubt that President Bush wants to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. However, the truth is, there is a glaring gap between his statements today and the paltry funding for non-proliferation efforts that he has called for in his budget for next year.
“It’s more than ironic that just last week, the President proposed cutting – yes, cutting – the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program by more than 9 percent, or almost $42 million. That program, named for Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), has been tremendously successful in rounding up and securing nuclear weapons and fissile material in the former Soviet Union.
"In addition, the President’s budget calls for a paltry 1.1 percent increase in funding for the Department of Energy’s nuclear non-proliferation programs.
“It is simply inexplicable that the President has failed to match his rhetoric with funding requests for non-proliferation programs that are demanded by the threats we face in the world today. Experts both here and abroad recognize the greatest threat our nation faces today is the prospect of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of rogue nations or terrorists organizations.
"The question is not whether we can afford to fund vital non-proliferation programs, it’s whether we can afford not to. The rogue nations of the world and international terrorist organizations are not going to be persuaded by tough talk alone.”