CORRECTION – House: make president share nuclear football

By Guy Page

Correction: Vermont Daily Chronicle this afternoon received this notice from the Vermont National Guard: “The F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft we operate here in Burlington do not have the configurations necessary for nuclear capability. Nuclear weapons are not stored here in Vermont, nor does the U.S. Air Force intend to.” An earlier edition of this story contained incorrect information, and has been corrected below.

The Vermont House voted today to make President Joe Biden – and every future president – share the nuclear football.

The ‘nuclear football’ is a term used for the briefcase, never far from the President, holding the launch codes for strategic nuclear weapons. It is a symbol of the presidential power to order a nuclear launch at his sole discretion.

The House today approved by an 83-62 margin JRH 22, a non-binding resolution “urging the President and Congress to spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war and opposing the basing of nuclear weapons in Vermont.” Its recommendations include “establishing additional protections to ensure that the President does not have the sole and unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack.” 

Why now? The resolution notes that “in 2022, global tensions, military conflicts, and perceived changes in nuclear doctrine in countries such as Russia, China and Iran have led to fears of the use of nuclear weapons, inspiring in a number of Vermonters a desire to lead the effort to prevent nuclear war.”

As for basing nuclear weapons in Vermont – The Dept. of Defense does not make public the location of nuclear weapons depots.  

The resolution is sponsored by Rep. Chip Troiano of Stannard, a Democrat and Vietnam War veteran. 

The vote was preceded by lengthy debate and discussion. In comments following the passage of the bill, Former Air Force missile launch officer Rep. Woodman Page (R-Newport) said: “I do not support this resolution….this body should know there already exists an agency that exists to prevent the proliferation….of weapons of mass destruction.”

2 replies »

  1. It is unclear whether President Trump ever gave the football to anyone else. 🤔

  2. More frightening than worrying about who has access to the “nuclear football” is the total and inexcusable IGNORANCE by Vermont’s (and other state’s) elected member’s of how the whole process works. And to be worried about which states of the Union these weapons are stored in exposes a naive and myopia as if it makes a material difference where they are deployed. I, like Rep. Woodman Page (R-Newport), served as a Minuteman Launch Control Officer and know what it takes to launch the nuclear force. I would be happy to join him in educating these members on the process. But it matters not. For the true issue is: which party controls the Oval Office.