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By MIA STEINLE
The members of Congress with the most influence over nuclear weapons have received $2.9 million in campaign contributions this election cycle from defense contractors involved in the nuclear weapons lobby, according to a new report from the Center for International Policy. The contractors have given these members $18.7 million over the course of their tenures in Congress.
The report calls for the cancellation of two costly Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear facilities, the postponement of the Air Force’s new nuclear bomber, and the reduction of the Navy’s ballistic missile submarine force. While the report calculates that these changes will yield taxpayers a savings of $46 billion over the next two decades, it says that “any effort to downsize the nation’s nuclear force is likely to be met with fierce opposition from the individuals and institutions that benefit from the nuclear status quo.”
Among those who benefit from the status quo are the contractors that manage two DOE nuclear facilities highlighted in the report—the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement-Nuclear Facility and the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility. The contractors connected to the two facilities contributed more than $240,000 to members of Congress during the 2012 election cycle and nearly $2.3 million over the course of the members’ tenures in Congress.