May 15, 2019

Young, Merkley Lead Bipartisan Resolution Honoring Richard Lugar’s Legacy, Pushing to Continue Global Non-Proliferation Efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Indiana’s U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.), along with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the top Senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Multilateral Institutions Subcommittee, today introduced a Senate resolution honoring the legacy of the late Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). The resolution recognizes Lugar’s enormous contributions to nuclear non-proliferation, and pushes for the U.S. to continue its leadership in advancing global non-proliferation efforts, including by considering extending the New START Treaty that Senator Lugar championed from his post on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Young and Merkley were joined on the resolution by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.). A House version of the resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by Congressmen Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nev.), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), and Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.).


Former Senator Richard G. Lugar, whose life is being honored today in Indianapolis, passed away on April 28th, 2019. Lugar, who served in the Senate from 1977 to 2013, left a remarkable legacy in the halls of Congress, particularly as a foreign policy leader. Lugar was instrumental in ushering in the New START Treaty, which continues to cap Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal, helping to unwind the Cold War arms race of the mid-20th century. The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, commonly known as the “Nunn-Lugar Program,” eliminated 7,600 nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union.


 “Today, as we honor the life of Senator Richard Lugar, we also focus on carrying on his legacy with this resolution and our continued commitment to nuclear non-proliferation. At a time when nuclear proliferation was civilization’s greatest threat, Senator Lugar helped save the world. Today, our world is once again facing the threat of nuclear weapons being developed by rogue regimes in Iran and North Korea. While Indiana and our entire country lost a great leader in Senator Lugar, the safety and security of our world now falls to us and carrying on his work to ensure the world remains free of the threat posed by nuclear weapons,” said Senator Young. 


“I greatly enjoyed serving with Senator Lugar, and I will never forget watching his leadership in ratifying the New START treaty in the Senate. It wouldn’t have happened without him,” said Senator Merkley. “At a time of increasing global threats and volatility, the non-proliferation efforts that Sen. Lugar championed are as important now as ever. We must not return to the nuclear-weapon ‘Wild Wild West’ – the era before 1972 when the United States and Russia aimed tens of thousands of nuclear weapons at one another – unbound by any treaty establishing the rules of the road. Instead of abandoning these treaties that reduce nuclear risk, in particular the New START Treaty, the U.S. should step up to ensure that future generations may never have to relive the ‘duck and cover’ drills I experienced in elementary school.”


“Senator Richard Lugar is a towering figure in Hoosier history and one of the greatest statesmen to ever serve in the U.S. Senate.  It’s an honor to work for Hoosiers from his seat and his desk on the Senate floor where he served our state with distinction for over 30 years and I’m proud to join this resolution honoring him,” said Senator Braun.


The Merkley-Young resolution honors Senator Lugar’s legacy, and calls for the United States to continue critical non-proliferation efforts by:

  • Encouraging all parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to comply fully with the treaty;
  • Maintaining support for the International Atomic Energy Agency, which regulates nuclear technology and conducts international inspections for nuclear weapons compliance;
  • Considering an extension of the New START Treaty, which is set to expire in February 2021, and beginning negotiations with Russia to secure and reduce nonstrategic nuclear weapons in a verifiable manner;
  • Condemning Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Forces (INF) Treaty, and urging them to come back into compliance while refraining from steps that would set off an arms race on the European continent ; and
  • Pursuing a verifiable and comprehensive arms control agreement with Russia and China.


A copy of the full resolution can be found here.