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Should the President Need Written Approval for Nuclear Weapons?
01/06/2017 Congress Helen J
keywords: Nuclear Weapons Nuclear Authorization

The introduction of a new bill before Congress raises the question about the amount of power the United States President should have in regards to the country's defense and use of force. H.R. 6535 was introduced on December 27, 2016 as a potential limitation on the President's power in regards to nuclear weaponry, but is also raises the question about why it is necessary to require written permission at this time and why previous U.S. Presidents did not require permission to use nuclear weapons in a war-time situation.

What is H.R. 6535?

H.R. 6535 is the Nuclear Sanity Act sponsored by Alan Grayson. Alan Grayson is the representative of Florida's 9th Congressional District and he suggests that the President should have a limitation on his ability to use nuclear weapons in defense of the country. The bill suggests that the President obtain written permission from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense before using nuclear weapons or the use of nuclear for other related purposes.

Should the President Need Approval?

A key reason for the current concern regarding the use of nuclear weapons is the recent election results and individuals who worry that President-elect Trump may not have the temperament to handle the responsibility. In previous elections, candidates were clear about their ideas regarding the use of nuclear force and the use of nuclear weapons in a war-time situation. Since President-elect Trump was not as clear in regards to his policies for nuclear weaponry and his interest in the use of nuclear power, some groups feel the written permission or the approval of Congressional leaders may provide checks and balances in regards to nuclear weapons.

Ultimately, it is likely that the President will have some changes to the current system as a direct result of inconsistencies in President-elect Trump's statements regarding nuclear power. By putting additional checks and balances on the President of the United States, leaders will have fewer concerns about the risks of a catastrophic war scenario. The primary challenge is determining how far to take the checks and balances as well as the options available to the President in an emergency situation.

Introducing a bill to limit President-elect Trump's power in relation to nuclear topics may not actually result in a major change, but it may result in evaluating the risks of a single individual making decisions regarding the use of nuclear weapons. It is likely that the bill will allow a discussion and ultimately an adjustment to the current power structure for better checks and balances in regards to war-time activities.

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