The House Armed Services Committee’s $696.5 billion defense policy bill includes several provisions aimed at curtailing rising Russian aggression, including the possible suspension of the long-held nuclear treaty between the two countries.
“Over the past year, Russia has maintained its gains in Ukraine, continued support for the Assad regime in Syria, interfered in U.S. elections, violated landmark disarmament treaties, and continued to take unprecedented provocative actions against U.S., NATO-allied, and partner ships and planes,” according to a summary of the House bill released Monday.
“These events all point to the importance of ensuring the U.S. Military has the capability needed to protect the country and our interests, and to assure America’s allies and partners.”
The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) stipulates that should the Russians violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and fail to comply within 15 months of the bill’s enactment, “the U.S. would no longer be legally bound by the treaty as a matter of domestic law,” according to a summary of the bill.
The House bill also includes $50 million to develop a new missile “to respond to Russian capabilities deployed in violation of the treaty, of which $25 million will be invested for research and development of U.S. intermediate range systems.”
The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 and bans nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 300 miles to 3,400 miles.
The U.S. has accused Russia under President Vladimir Putin of developing and fielding such a weapon, using it as recently as February. Russia denies that it has violated the treaty.
Lawmakers have pushed the Trump administration to respond to the threat.