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Senate has votes to ratify START treaty: To floor this week


WASHINGTON--The Obama White House has the votes to ratify the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, with the Senate preparing for a vote this week, the Sun-Times has learned. The debate could come as early as Wednesday, after the vote on the tax package Obama negotiated with the Republicans. The Senate on Monday was advancing the tax legislation, with enough votes to end debate.

The New START vote will proceed because of a loophole in the Nov. 29 letter all 42 Republicans signed not to advance legislation until the tax deal and government funding bills are passed. The Senate is tentatively set to take up the funding measure at the end of the week.

The Nov. 29 letter states that the GOP senators will "not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all Americans. THE LOOPHOLE: A vote to ratify a treaty is different under Senate rules than a vote to advance legislation, which needs a cloture vote. No cloture vote will be needed for the Senate to take up New START.


It is time to stop the partisan politics and ratify New START. There is no room for partisan politics when dealing with nuclear weapons which do not discriminate between political parties, men, women, or children.

The entire DoD, Department of State, previous STRATCOM commanders, Cold War warriors, and secretaries of State and Defense, Catholic Bishops, National Council of Churches, and so many others have supported ratification. Polls continue to show the vast majority of Americans want New START ratified.

The only folks who seem against it are some Republicans, the Heritage Foundation, and the nuclear arms industry who stand to profit by continuing an arms race.

The Cold War has been over 20 years now. Let's get rid of these relics of the Cold War and work cooperatively with Russia in preventing the possibility of nuclear terrorism, the greater threat we face.

I also think that the ratification of the treaty is a crucial issue in the area of nuclear non-proliferation. We should understand that in today's world there is no other choice than cooperation with Russia in order to prevent serious threats posed by a number of other countries.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 13, 2010 4:54 PM.

Senate heading to okay Obama/GOP tax deal. Durbin, Kirk, vote to advance bill was the previous entry in this blog.

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