Senate passes new START treaty and Zadroga bill for 9/11 workers
The U.S. Senate managed to get some work done, ratifying the new START treaty and passing the Zadroga bill. The treaty will further reduce American stocks of nuclear weapons, pending passage by the Russian legislature. The Zadroga bill will aid 9/11 rescue workers and survivors with health complications.
Senate ratifies new START treaty
The U.S. Senate has ratified the new START treaty, or New START, according to the New York Times. The Senate voted 71 to 26 to ratify the new treaty, an arms control agreement between the United States and Russia. The agreement, still to be ratified by the Russian Duma, will further reduce the number of nuclear warheads held by each country to 1,550 and the number of launch vehicles to 700. The treaty also enhances inspection and security arrangements to ensure both countries are keeping nuclear arms safe. Republican senators had objected over possible ramifications for missile defense systems. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) hailed the treaty, saying the American people had fewer Russian missiles pointed at them.
Senate also passes Zadroga bill
The Senate, getting some more work done before the lame duck session is over, also passed the Zadroga bill, according to CNN. The Zadroga bill will allocate more than $7 billion to survivors of the 9/11 attacks, as well as 9/11 firefighters, police and emergency personnel who on 9/11 were the first responders on the scene and have suffered health complications. Senate Republicans were largely behind upholding the bill, though the objection was not to the allocation of funds for that purpose, but rather went to the manner in which it was funded. The bill included some compromises and still has to be passed by the House before heading for the desk of the president.
Work occasionally gets done in Washington
Little time remains before the government takes a recess for the holiday. Should the House pass the Zadroga bill, Congress will be able to go home for the holidays knowing it did not leave the good work undone.