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Chairman Risch: Administration’s Decision to Extend New START for Five Years is Ill-Advised

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on the Biden Administration’s decision to extend the New START Treaty for five years:

“I disagree with the Biden Administration’s decision to extend the New START Treaty for five years. By failing to seize the opportunity for a shorter extension, they have forfeited the opportunity for follow-on arms control negotiations. Having secured the longer extension he desired, President Putin has no incentive to negotiate with the United States and will, as he has done, decline to engage in any further discussions.

“In the Resolution of Ratification for New START, I pushed for the Obama Administration to commit to follow on negotiations of tactical nuclear weapons that were excluded from that treaty. The Obama Administration was unable to secure those follow on negotiations with the Russians, and the Biden Administration will experience the same outcome. Today, the need is even greater given the giant strides being made on delivery systems, which the Russians claim are now outside New START’s limits.

“In the wake of this extension, we should expect the Russians to continue to expand and improve their tactical nuclear weapons and exotic delivery systems; the Chinese government to continue or even accelerate the growth of its nuclear forces; and the North Koreans to pursue new nuclear capabilities, including tactical nuclear weapons and larger, solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles.  

“These growing threats make all the more critical and urgent the defense of America and our allies. We must urgently prioritize the complete modernization of the U.S. nuclear triad and ensure our nuclear posture continues to provide credible and effective deterrence for the United States and our allies.”