California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu told his Twitter followers Tuesday night to support his legislation to prevent President Trump from launching a nuclear first strike without congressional authorization.
The bill, known as the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, (H.R. 669), had been proposed by Lieu and was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs last January, just four days after Trump was sworn into office.
According to the bill summary, the legislation would bar the president from using the military “to conduct a first-use nuclear strike unless such strike is conducted pursuant to a congressional declaration of war expressly authorizing such strike.”
“First-use nuclear strike” is defined as a nuclear weapons assault against an enemy that is done without the president concluding that the enemy first launched a nuclear attack against the United States or a U.S. ally.
Although his legislation has little chance of making it to the floor, Rep. Lieu noted that Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey has corresponding legislation in the Senate.
Only the president has the authority to order a nuclear strike at any point for any reason, but the technical procedure to do so involves several persons, including a confirmation to launch order by the secretary of defense. The defense secretary can approve the launch order but does not have the authority to legally reject it.
Freaked out by Trump’s tweet threatening nuclear war with #NorthKorea? Support HR 669 / S 200 by Senator @EdMarkey and me. This bipartisan legislation prevents @POTUS from launching a nuclear first strike without Congressional authorization. https://t.co/rR6MKQIkT2
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 3, 2018
Lieu sent his tweet just a few hours after Trump responded to North Korean President Kim Jong Un who previously threatened the U.S. during remarks on New Years day that he had access to a nuclear launch button at his desk.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
“I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works,” Trump tweeted.