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Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur tries to block Trump administration from conducting nuclear tests

A spending bill drafted by Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur would block the Trump administration from conducting nuclear tests. (Sabrina Eaton/ cleveland.com/TNS)

Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur is putting language in a federal spending bill that would ban the nation from conducting nuclear tests.

Kaptur, who chairs a House subcommittee that funds the U.S. Department of Energy, on Monday released a $49.6 billion draft of the yearly appropriations bill her subcommittee produces that would prohibit funding for nuclear weapons testing. Her subcommittee oversees the Department of Energy. The bill must still pass the House of Representatives and Senate to become law.

Kaptur last month joined joined several colleagues in writing a letter to protest reports that administration officials have discussed whether to conduct the first U.S. nuclear test explosions since 1992 following the claims that Russia and China have done so – claims each country has denied. The letter said that resuming nuclear explosive testing would undermine national security “and the superiority of our nuclear deterrent.

“The notion that resuming testing would somehow pressure Russia or China into arms control negotiations is baseless and uninformed,” Kaptur’s letter said. “Resuming testing would open the door for widespread global testing, which would only serve to benefit our adversaries and make Americans less safe.”

The draft of the bill she released Monday said none of the funds it contains “may be used to conduct, or prepare to conduct, any explosive nuclear weapons test that produces any yield.”

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A Kaptur spokesman said she’s optimistic the measure to block nuclear testing won’t be removed from the bill before it passes the House of Representatives and Senate and becomes law, although “certainty is hard to come by these days.”

“To us, this provision is a no-brainer, especially given that every year the DOE (Department of Energy) and DOD (Department of Defense) certify that the stockpile is effective, reliable and safe,” said Kaptur spokesman Griffin Anderson.

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© 2020 The Plain Dealer