1986 Scorecard Vote
The continuing escalation of the nuclear arms race poses an unacceptable risk to all species and the environment on which all life depends. Recent analysis of the "nuclear winter" effects of a nuclear weapons exchange has contributed to a growing awareness in the conservation community that nuclear war would be the ultimate environmental catastrophe. During the 99th Congress, national conservation organizations from the Sierra Club to the National Wildlife Federation supported, for the first time, a band on the testing of nuclear weapons -- a mutual, verifiable first step towards curtailment of the nuclear arms race. Reflecting this shift, the League's Board of Directors decided to include the key House vote in this issue in the 1985-86 Scorecard.
In 1986, both the Democratically controlled House and the Republican controlled Senate passed bipartisan resolutions urging President Reagan to reopen negotiations with the Soviet Union for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. When it became clear that the President would not respond to these non-binding resolutions, the House voted to suspend U.S. nuclear testing.
This vote is on the Aspin (D-WI) - Gephardt (D-MO) - Schroeder (D-CO) Amendment to bar tests of nuclear weapons with an explosive power greater than 1 kiloton for nine months, provided the Soviet Union conducted no nuclear tests during this time and provided the U.S. and Soviet Union agreed to be monitored for compliance with the ban. Amendment accepted 234-155; August 8, 1986. YES is the pro-environmental vote. (Aspin Amendment to H.R. 4428, FY '87 Defense Authorization.) The Reagan Administration did not support the amendment.