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Membership Meeting - September 19, 1985
President's Message (Dorothy Lum)
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Action Alert: Star Wars


Write to or talk to Hawaii's Congressmen and urge them to support League's position on the SDI.

League's position:

The League strongly opposes the Strategic Defense Initiative, we believe that it is an extremely costly, destabilizing program that is on a collision course with the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, undermines arms control, and runs the serious risk of vastly accelerating the arms race.

Excerpts from Action Alert

The fight against "Star Wars" now focuses on cutting money during the appropriations process. The deadline for congressional enactment of the defense appropriations bill is October 1, though that deadline has slipped in years past. The House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees are expected to begin consideration of the FY'86 defense appropriations bill in late July. In September, amendments to reduce SDI funding will be offered in the full committees. Floor action is also expected late in September. State and local league lobbying over the August congressional recess (August 3 - September 4) and continuing into the fall is especially important to gain significant funding restrictions this year.

In March, 1983, President Reagan signaled a major change in the United States' strategic posture and approach to arms control when he called on the nation's scientists to render nuclear weapons "impotent and obsolete." In 1984, the Strategic Defense Initiative, dubbed "Star Wars" by the press, was introduced in Congress as a five-year, $26 billion, research and development program to explore the feasibility of developing a nationwide, multi-layered space-based and space-directed ballistic missile defense system. Up-dated estimates on the cost and time span for the SDI are closer to ten years and $70 billion,

The League is not opposed to research consistent with the ABM Treaty. Some research is necessary to assure effective U.S. participation in future treaty negotiations governing the development of new ABM technologies and to protect U.S. interests in the event of a Soviet break with the treaty. Research for these purposes was more than adequately funded at levels between $500 million and $1 billion for ten years prior to the introduction of the SDI. The research programs along with new programs have been consolidated and greatly accelerated under the SDI.

We are asking Congress to oppose the Strategic Defense Initiative by:

  1. eliminating all funding for SDI demonstration projects that will result in violations of the ABM Treaty, and

  2. freezing funds for the SDI at last year's level ($1.4 billion) or lower.

In June, the defense authorization bill set a funding ceiling of $2.75 billion in budget authority for the SDI. During the floor consideration of this bill, several amendments were offered to either reduce and restrict funding for the SDI or, in the House to increase funding above the Armed Services Committee level,

The League endorsed the Mavroules/Hertel Amendment in the House and the Kerry Amendment in the Senate. Both of these amendments would have frozen spending for the SDI at last year's appropriation of $1.4 billion and eliminated all funding for field demonstration projects that will lead to violations of the ABM Treaty. The League also endorsed the Dellums Amendment in the House that would have further reduced SDI funding and deleted funding for demonstrations and other major experiments. Had they passed, the League-supported amendments would have effectively killed the "Star Wars" proposal while allowing research consistent with the treaty to continue. The Mavroules/Hertel Amendment was rejected by a vote of 155-268. The Dellums Amendment was defeated 102-320,

Representative Daniel Akaka was the only Hawaii member to vote for any of these amendments, and we need to thank him for supporting our position when we write to him. Representative Heftel did vote against amendments to increase SDI funding above the Armed Services Committee recommendation.

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