Cicilline to Speaker: Reconvene Congress to Defuse North Korea Tensions

Aug 11, 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, wrote to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan today to request that he reconvene Congress to debate legislation prohibiting a pre-emptive nuclear strike without prior Congressional approval.


The full text of Cicilline’s letter is embedded below. A PDF copy of the letter, as delivered to Speaker Ryan’s office, can be downloaded by clicking here.




August 11, 2017


The Honorable Paul D. Ryan


U.S. House of Representatives

H-232 The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515


Dear Speaker Ryan:


In light of the ongoing standoff between the United States and North Korea, as well as President Trump’s reckless words, I ask that you immediately call the House of Representatives back into session to debate legislation prohibiting the U.S. from conducting a pre-emptive nuclear strike without prior Congressional authorization.


It is critical that the Trump administration exhaust all diplomatic options before resorting to military force.  Instead, President Trump has made a dangerous situation even worse by recklessly asserting that the United States is "locked and loaded" to bring “fire and fury” to North Korea.


The President’s words matter. And in this case, his words have been harmful.  There are more than 20,000 Americans serving on the Korean Peninsula today. Millions of Americans live within range of North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missiles.  If the President will not defuse this situation, then Congress must.


One option that dozens of my colleagues and I support is H.R. 669, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act, which would prohibit the President of the United States from conducting a first-use nuclear strike without prior authorization from Congress.  This legislation, which maintains the President's ability to immediately retaliate against a nuclear strike, will provide an opportunity to reduce tensions and prevent a catastrophic nuclear confrontation.


I thank you for your attention to this matter, and ask that you allow the House to fulfill its obligation under the Constitution to debate and, if necessary, authorize the use of force.



David N. Cicilline

Member of Congress