AP: Pelosi says Congress should weigh policy change on nukes

October 13, 2017
WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested Thursday the U.S. should revisit its policy on nuclear weapons to institute a “no first use” protocol. That would mean the U.S. would not unleash nuclear weapons unless another country did first.

The California Democrat insisted her proposal had nothing to do with President Donald Trump even though it comes in the wake of Trump’s bellicose threats against North Korea and his reported suggestion that the nation’s nuclear arsenal should increase in size — as well as Sen. Bob Corker’s warning that Trump could be putting the nation on the path to World War III.

Instead Pelosi said the current policy is outdated and any changes would apply to all presidents in future.

Pelosi raised the issue at her weekly press conference Thursday.

“There is interest in the U.S. establishing itself as no first use, no first nuclear use,” she said, adding that any such move would have to be bipartisan. Rep. Adam Smith, who is top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, is raising the idea with Republicans on his panel, according to congressional aides.

“I put this in the category of urgent. We take an oath to protect and defend, and the law under which the president of the United States has authority to exercise first use is one that is ancient,” Pelosi said.

She said the “first use” policy was established in 1946, “in a different world.” The idea of changing the policy has been around for years.

Asked whether her proposal came in response to Trump, Pelosi said: “This doesn’t really have to do with him, it has to do with the presidency.”