A letter signed by about three dozen House Democrats, offered alternatives to sole nuclear authority, such as requiring the vice president and House speaker to agree with a launch order from the president before it is executed.
They outlined that neither of the two top officials "can be removed by the president if they disagree."
“Under the current posture of US nuclear forces, that [nuclear] attack would happen in minutes,” read the letter from representative Jimmy Panetta, and obtained by Politico.
"Vesting one person with this authority entails real risks," The letter said.
“Past presidents have threatened to attack other countries with nuclear weapons or exhibited behavior that caused other officials to express concern about the president’s judgment,” said Panetta.
It explained that while any president would presumably consult with advisors before ordering a nuclear attack, “there is no requirement to do so.”
The letter said, “The military is obligated to carry out the order if they assess it is legal under the laws of war.”
Panetta wrote in a tweet that he is "calling on" Biden "to install checks [and] balances in our nuclear command-and-control structure."
ICYMI: I'm calling on @POTUS to install checks & balances in our nuclear command-and-control structure.— Rep. Jimmy Panetta (@RepJimmyPanetta) February 24, 2021
Past presidents have threatened nuclear attacks on other countries or exhibited concerning behavior that cast doubt on their judgment. Read more: https://t.co/Ntk8uvRqxO
Democrats have formerly raised concern about former president Donald Trumps’ access to nuclear codes.
Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker said last month, she raised the issue with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
Pelosi said she spoke with Milley about protecting nuclear codes from an "unhinged president."
She spoke "to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike."