Sep 13 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the top Republican on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, pushed back against President Biden’s recent comments suggesting climate change is a bigger threat to global security than nuclear war. In her remarks on the Senate floor, Senator Fischer called on the administration to more seriously address the existential threat posed by China.
Following is a transcript of Senator Fischer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
China is on track to triple its nuclear arsenal by 2035. Russia continues its nuclear saber-rattling in Ukraine. North Korea is hell-bent on developing the capability to deliver nuclear weapons at longer-ranges, conducting dozens of missile tests in the last year. And Iran is weeks away from obtaining nuclear weapons.
But on Sunday night, President Biden said — and I’m quoting him:
“The only existential threat humanity faces even more frightening than a nuclear war is global warming going above 1.5 degrees in the next 10 years.”
The leader of the free world believes that global warming is a bigger threat to global security than nuclear war.
Now, I’m not dismissing the importance of our climate. We should continue to take responsible, common-sense action to address climate change, and we should support an all-of-the-above energy strategy. We should promote policies to ensure that we have clean air and water, and we should do that without hindering economic prosperity or burdening hardworking Americans and their families.
But the president’s claim that global warming is more frightening than nuclear war sends the wrong signal to our adversaries and allies. It demonstrates a total ignorance of the instability of today’s global threat environment.
The strategic forces subcommittee, where I’m ranking member, specifically oversees our country’s nuclear forces. And based on the hundreds of official hearings, briefings, and documents we’ve analyzed, I can tell you with all confidence that the most frightening threat to global security today is the Chinese Communist Party.
The CCP has made it crystal clear that it wants to fundamentally alter global deterrence dynamics. China’s relentless military buildup has outpaced anything we could have imagined.
Like I said earlier, China wants to triple its nuclear arsenal over the next decade — and it’s well on its way to meet that goal, if not exceed it. U.S. Strategic Command, or STRATCOM — located in my home state of Nebraska — confirmed earlier this year that China possesses more intercontinental ballistic missile launchers than we do here in the United States.
China is developing a subsonic stealth bomber that’s essentially a copycat of our B-2 bomber. It’s continuing work on Jin-class submarines capable of carrying up to 12 nuclear missiles at a time.
To the people of the United States, let me say this:
For the first time in history, the United States will face two adversaries who are peer nuclear powers: China and Russia. And that is the biggest national security threat we face. And when the president says that climate change is more frightening than nuclear war, he is downplaying the serious, terrifying possibility that China puts its nuclear weapons to use.
This administration neglects our nuclear arsenal while our adversaries prioritize theirs. This administration has done things like try to cancel the Sea-Launched Cruise Missile program, or SLCM. SLCM would fill a known capability gap. It would allow us to more effectively deter China or Russia from using a nuclear weapon — part of their “escalate-to-deescalate” strategy.
Congress has pushed back on the president in a bipartisan, bicameral way when it comes to him canceling SLCM. It is past time for this administration to get serious about the existential threat China poses. The president should tackle this issue head-on, not trivialize it.
One way President Biden can do this is by signing this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate successfully passed this year’s NDAA by a significant bipartisan majority — 86 to 11. I led provisions to accelerate the modernization of our nuclear triad — our land, air, and sea-based nuclear weapon systems. These military capabilities are essential to keeping adversaries like China in check — China will be less likely to use its weapons if it believes we can and will hit back harder.
Once the NDAA gets to the President’s desk, he should sign this legislation without hesitating for a moment. Let’s not put nuclear war on the backburner — let’s show China that it has no chance against the United States of America.
Thank you, M. President, I yield the floor.
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