Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New START Stalls

CAPT Marshall Hanson
ROA Legislative Director

In Washington the media is reporting that the White House and Senate leadership were surprised by the announcement by Sen. Jon Kyl that he doesn’t support a ratification vote on the New START Treaty with Russia during the “lame duck” session.

“When Majority Leader Harry Reid asked me if I thought the treaty could be considered in the lame duck session, I replied I did not think so given the combination of other work Congress must do and the complex and unresolved issues related to START and modernization,” said Sen. Kyl in a statement released earlier this week.

The New START Treaty is a replacement for both the original START Treaty that expired in December of 2009 and the Moscow Treaty which was negotiated by the Bush Administration for control over nuclear weapons with Russia.

While some were taken aback by this statement, ROA was not. Last summer, ROA President RADM Paul Kayye was briefed in the West Wing Situation Room about the treaty and needed Senate votes. ROA presented both sides of the START agreement in its November/December The Officer magazine. While ROA has remained neutral, we have been invited to listen in on discussions over this issue.

Senator Kyl is pivotal to any debate on the issue, and the minority party has been looking to him for leadership on ratification. His prominence explains why the Senate Majority Leader and the White House are engaging him in ongoing negotiations.

While many in Washington are writing-off the treaty as having been killed, critics of the Treaty are looking at ways on how to strengthen the agreements on verification and nuclear weapon reduction equity. It takes a 2/3rds majority vote in the Senate to ratify treaties.

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