GREAT NEWS! Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced the "Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Conversion Act" for the 16th time as "HR-2775 - 118th Congress (2023-2024): To direct the United States to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and convert nuclear weapons industry resources and personnel to purposes relating to addressing the climate crisis, and for other purposes. There were five original cosponsors on April 20, 2023, Representatives Jim McGovern (MA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Omar Ilhan (MN), Rashida Tlaib (MI), and Mark Pocan (WI). Pramila Jayapal (WA), Greg Casar (TX), Yvette Clark (NY), Barbara Lee (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), and Thanedar (MI) have also signed on as of January 10, 2024.
We can and should begin asking all our legislators to cosponsor her bill NOW in the House, and introduce a companion bill in the Senate!
Please urge any organization you're part of to send a letter to Ms. Norton supporting HR-2775.
Here is the text of the bill:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the "Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Conversion Act of 2023".
SEC. 2. UNITED STATES ABOLITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND CONVERSION OF RESOURCES TO ENERGY AND ECONOMIC PURPOSES.
(a) SENSE OF CONGRESS .—It is the sense of Congress that the United States should provide leadership by--
(1) signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and
(2) ratifying such treaty when it is clear that ratification will result in—
(A) the dismantlement and elimination of all nuclear weapons in every country; and
(B) strict and effective international control of such dismantlement and elimination.
(b) REDIRECTION OF RESOURCES.—Beginning on the date on which the President certifies to Congress that all countries possessing nuclear weapons have begun the verifiable and irreversible elimination of such weapons under the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the United States shall redirect resources that are being used for nuclear weapons programs to be used for—
(1) purposes related to addressing the climate crisis, including through the development and deployment of clean, renewable energy sources, by converting all nuclear weapons industry processes plants, and programs for such purposes and by re-training nuclear industry employees; and
(2) addressing human and infrastructure needs, such as health care, housing, education, agriculture, and environmental restoration, including long-term radioactive waste monitoring; and
(3) actively promote policies to induce all other countries to join in the commitments referred to in paragraphs (1) and (2) to create a more peaceful and secure world.
Proposition One Campaign has been working for an end to the whole nuclear era since it was founded in 1990, created by members of the then-9-year-old antinuclear vigil in Lafayette Park, north of the White House, to bring a voter initiative to the people of Washington DC. As a result of the victory of DC Initiative 37 in 1993, the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act has been introduced each session between 1994 and 2023 into the U.S. House of Representatives by DC's Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Until 2019, this was the ONLY legislation calling for nuclear abolition and conversion, and we focused our energies on seeking cosponsors in the House of Representatives. In 2017, when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was approved by 122 nations, we also launched a campaign for sponsors in the Senate. We've created these resources for those who want to help with the campaign:
For the Senate -
* Please circulate the paper petition to Senators
* And sign the online Petition to the President and Senators for the U.S. to sign and ratify the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
* "Warheads to Windmills: Preventing Climate Catastrophe and Nuclear War" 2023 report by NuclearBan.US
* "Let's End the Whole Nuclear Era!", a WILPF-US Disarm Committee foldover flyer
* "Don't Bank On The Bomb" - move the money from nuclear weapons industries and banks that fund them
* WILPF US Disarm Committee website and WILPF US YouTube channel
* Contact the Campaign
On January 22, 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) became international law! Now we need to convince our own country, and all nine nuclear weapons countries, to sign and ratify the treaty. There are a number of groups now dedicated to making this happen, foremost among them ICAN, winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, which is a coalition of organizations around the world. In the United States, Nuclear Ban US has been developing tools to help us all encourage national, local, and state legislators to sign the ICAN Pledge, support the Norton bill, and introduce local resolutions. The Nuclear Ban Treaty Collaborative has been keeping a record of actions across the United States, and has a Facebook page where you can post YOUR actions supporting the TPNW.
IN THE HOUSE: The bill has consistently been submitted to the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees each session, and in 2017 and 2019 it has been submitted to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. If your Representative is on any of these committees, please ask him or her to cosponsor the bill, and to help get it out of committee and to the floor for debate and vote!
We have been told by a House legislative aide that the Armed Services Committee only votes on one bill each year -- the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) -- so we should ask the members of the committee to incorporate the language of the bill into the NDAA.
IN THE SENATE: On July 7, 2017, at the United Nations, 122 nations adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. At their 33rd triennial congress July 27-30, 2017, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom-US Section launched a petition to the President and the Senate asking for ratification. Please print and get signatures on the paper petition and send to the address shown, AND please sign (and encourage everyone you know on social media to sign) the online petition supporting the nuclear weapons ban treaty as well. We hope and believe this will go viral!
Let your legislators know you want them to support a world without nuclear weapons! The Congressional Switchboard is 202-224-3121. The White House comment line is 202-456-1111.
Please let us know if you have contacted your Representative or Senators so that we may follow up.
And if you are a constituent, please take time to thank Eleanor Holmes Norton for faithfully introducing her nuclear weapons abolition bill each session since 1994, and tell her you've contacted your Representative to ask for cosponsorship! Ms. Norton's fax is 202-225-3002.
History of the Bill
The bill was first introduced in 1994 as the "Nuclear Disarmament and Economic Conversion Act", then again in 1995, 1997, and 1999, when U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey (CA) joined Ms. Norton and several experts on nuclear disarmament issues to announce active support for the legislation, and again in 2001, 2003, and 2005 (when Representative Woolsey, plus John Lewis and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, and Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas, quickly signed on). In 2007 there were no cosigners, but in 2009 John Lewis and Lynn Woolsey's aides repeatedly told us that they signed on to HR-1653, although you'd never know about it by searching Congressional bills. In 2009, Ms. Norton's announcement was timed to recognize Proposition One co-founder William Thomas, who had died on January 23rd.
During 2009 and 2010, Proposition One co-founder Ellen Thomas and a team from DC traveled 30,000 miles around the country learning about the entire nuclear chain, from uranium mines (reclaimed and not), to nuclear power and weapons plants, to radioactive storage facilities, and promoting voter initiatives everywhere. During that time they became convinced that we will never be sure of abolishing nuclear weapons until there are no longer nuclear power plants, which for sixty-plus years have been producing weapons-grade uranium and plutonium. The travelers received excellent suggestions for improving the language of the proposed bill, which up till then hadn't been getting much respect from Congress. They proposed revisions which Ms. Norton accepted in 2011.
The 2011 bill was renamed the "Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act." There were four sponsors for HR-1334, Representatives Steve Cohen (TN), Bob Filner (CA), Dennis Kucinich (OH), and Fortney Pete Stark (CA). Again, John Lewis and Lynn Woolsey's aides said they were signing on, but it didn't appear on the Congress website.
In 2013, Ms. Norton's said on introducing the bill, "Today, our country has a long list of urgent domestic needs that have been put on the back burner even though millions of Americans have lost their homes and jobs and sequestration has started. As the only nation that has used nuclear weapons in war, and that still possesses the largest nuclear weapons arsenal, I urge support for my bill to help the United States lead the world in redirecting funds that would otherwise go to nuclear weapons to be available for urgent domestic needs." Representative Raul Grijalva (AZ), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, signed on to HR-1650.
In 2015, when she introduced HR-1976, Ms. Norton wrote in her Dear Colleague letter, "Polls indicate that over 70% of Americans want 'the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.' We must begin to turn public sentiment into public policy, and make advances toward a peaceful, nuclear-weapons-free future." John Lewis (GA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), and Lacy Clay (MO) signed on. And in spring, 2017, during a Nuclear-Free-Future tour, we were told by Lacy Clay and Raul Grijalva aides, and by Jan Schakowsky (Chicago, IL) personally, that they would sign on to the bill when introduced in the 115th Congress.
In 2017, when Ms. Norton introduced HR-3853, her press release read: "There is no greater threat to the future of our planet than nuclear war.... As we seek to eliminate North Korea's march toward achieving long-range nuclear weapons, our nation, with the world's largest nuclear arsenal, should lead by example by bringing nations together to begin negotiations on reducing our stockpiles of warheads and moving toward realizing a world without nuclear weapons." Cosponsors were Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Jim McGovern (MA). Lacy Clay and Raul Grijalva didn't show up on Congress.gov.
In 2019 members of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom - US Section asked Ms. Norton to revise the language of the bill by naming the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in the first clause, eliminating the "date by" portion of the last clause, and removing (for later introduction as a separate bill, we hope) the clause calling for an end to war and all military operations, which was getting in the way of recruiting new cosponsors. Ms. Norton agreed to all the revisions, and was congratulated by Nobel Peace Prize winner ICAN's executive director, Beatrice Fihn, and Timmon Wallis and Vicki Elson of WILPF-US and NuclearBan.US, in this photo. On May 21, 2019, Representative Jim McGovern (MA) cosponsored HR-2419; Ms. Norton has cosponsored his Resolution which supports the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, H.Res 302. On October 11, 2019, Representative Ilhan Omar (Minneapolis, MN) became a cosponsor of HR-2419, and on October 30, 2019, Representative Barbara Lee (Oakland, CA) signed on. Sheila Jackson-Lee (Houston, TX) cosponsored again on January 15, 2020, as did Jan Schakowski (Chicago, IL) on January 29, 2020.
We were delighted that in 2019 Representative Jim McGovern introduced H.Res. 302, "Embracing the goals and provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons," which is a RESOLUTION that allows legislators to express their support for the Treaty, but it doesn't make law. Norton's BILL, on the other hand, creates a law which supports the treaty, and also provides funding for conversion of the war industries to provide for environmental restoration and clean-energy conversion. This is how to fund the Green New Deal and get rid of nukes too! Cosponsors are needed! Check the list of cosponsors in 2019-20 recorded online.
History of Proposition One Campaign for a Nuclear-Free Future
In 2021-2022, the bill was HR-2850. Its cosponsors were Representatives Jim McGovern (MA), Barbara Lee (CA), Ilhan Omar (MN), Mark Pocan (WI), Carolyn Maloney (NY), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Peter Welch (VT), Ayanna Pressley (MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Pramila Jayapal (WA), Andy Levin (MI), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Mondaire Jones (NY), and Janice Schakowsky (IL). Please ask them to cosponsor once again!
In 2021 Ms. Norton filmed a statement which was broadcast during a webinar, "Move the Money from Global to Local, from War to Peace," at the 34th Triennial Congress of Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, US Section, in August 2021. This statement is as relevant for HR-2775 as it was for HR-2850.
Other cosponsors over the years, now retired, have included David Minge and James Oberstar (Minnesota), Charles Rangel (New York), Al Wynn (Maryland), and Earl Hilliard (Alabama). As each Congressional session ends, all unvoted-on legislation expires and must be re-introduced. Your help is needed in obtaining LOTS of cosponsors in this Congress! Bipartisan support would be very helpful.
Now we have the Roots Action letter to help us!
We of the Proposition One Campaign thank Ms. Norton for her vision, courage, and patience over these many years. We hope this session the bill will have so many cosponsors that it will finally get out of Committees and to the floor for a vote.
Proposition One Campaign was created by the White House Antinuclear Vigil, which began June 3, 1981.
This project is supported by Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section, Disarm/End Wars Committee, and by Nuclear Ban US.
Proposition One Campaign YouTube videos
"Oracles of Pennsylvania Avenue" by Tim Wilkerson,
first broadcast in two parts by Aljazeerain 2011,
winner of "best documentary" at Daytona Beach Film Festival in 2013.
"Proposition One: Peace Through Reason" - 2009 update - produced in 1994 by William Thomas, edited in 2009 by Ellen Thomas
"DC Initiative 37" video by Jai Tomlinson, produced in 1993 during and after the successful voter initiative which led to the bill introduced each session by Eleanor Holmes Norton.
"The Ground War At Home", produced in 1991 by Ellen Thomas, about the drumming 40 days and nights outside the White House during the first Gulf War.
"Radiation Blues," written by Ellen Thomas in 1986 after Chernobyl, updated and sung by Courtney Dowe in 2011 after Fukushima