1981 Scorecard Vote
Simon (D-IL) amendment to the fiscal year 1982 Defense Authorizations bill to require advance approval of both houses of Congress before the funds in the bill could be spent on a basing mode for the MX missile. This vote was taken before President Reagan cancelled the multiple protective shelter basing mode for the MX missile. To protect against a Soviet nuclear strike, the Air Force wanted to put more than 200 MX missiles in valleys in Nevada and Utah. Each missile would move continually between 4,600 shelters and 23 potential launch sites, so the Soviets would not know their exact location at any one time. This shell game is called the basing mode, and would affect 25,000 square miles of land, much of it de facto wilderness. Local ranchers and environmentalists, as well as several national environmental groups, opposed this method of basing the missiles because it meant massive withdrawals of land, boom towns, a staggering drain on the area's water resources and an end to traditional rural lifestyles. The missiles will be almost impossible to hide unless the whole area is off limits to the public. The missiles can be used as offensive first strike weapons. The shell game basing mode could have cost $50 billion, excluding the production costs of the missile itself, money that would not then be available either for social programs or for more sensible defense programs. Amendment rejected 201-207; July 9, 1981. YES is the pro-environmental vote.