How the junior senator from AZ just ensured the Senate will ratify New START
Posted by Kelsey Hartigan
In a failed attempt to kick the can further down the road and delay ratification of the New START Treaty, Sen. Kyl just ensured that New START will be ratified during the lame duck session of the 111th Congress. Kyl’s stunt yesterday pissed off and mobilized a lot of people, namely, Harry Reid.
Reid just issued a biting statement, confirming that “the Senate will be in session after Thanksgiving and will have time to consider and ratify” New START. Frankly, absent Kyl's cheap, political stunt, there might not have been as much friendly pressure on Reid to find the floor time. As Max Bergmann wrote this morning, Kyl actually managed to make himself less relevant-- shifting the attention instead, to Harry Reid and the White House. Well, here's Reid's answer:
“It is vitally important to America’s national security for the Senate to ratify the new START treaty before Congress adjourns this year. We need our inspectors back on the ground and the critical information they can provide about Russia’s nuclear capabilities. Ratification of this treaty would accomplish both.
“This treaty has strong bipartisan consensus in the Senate. It has been endorsed by the U.S. military, our diplomatic leadership, and scores of former Republican and Democratic national security officials. So I am puzzled by Senator Kyl’s announcement that he is not prepared to move forward on the new START treaty.
“The Administration has made it clear it is prepared to work with all Senators to resolve any outstanding concerns, and I appreciate in particular their efforts to reach out to Senator Kyl. I assure Senator Kyl and others concerned about the fate of this treaty that the Senate will be in session after Thanksgiving and will have time to consider and ratify it.
The support for New START has always been strong—after 18 hearings, 4 classified briefings and answers to over 900 Questions for the Record, the Senate meticulously examined this treaty—and it shows. New START has the unanimous support of America’s military leadership and is backed by an impressive cadre of prominent national security figures like George Schultz, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, James Schlesinger and countless others.
Kyl’s blatant attempt to delay ratification of this important treaty only showcased his willingness to put politics above American national security. And it did not sit well with folks.
At a presser on Capitol Hill this morning, Sen. Lugar was scathing. “We're talking today about the national security of the United States of America,” he said. “We're at a point where we're unlikely to have either the treaty or modernization unless we get real.”
Watch it here:
Sen. Lugar concluded: "I'm advising that the treaty should come on the floor so people will have to vote aye or nay [even if there's no deal]," he said. "I think when it finally comes down to it, we have sufficient number or senators who do have a sense of our national security. This is the time, this is the priority. Do it."