New START treaty close to final vote in Senate

John Kerry

Senator John Kerry hailed the Senate cloture vote to end debate on the new START treaty as a great bipartisan effort. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

The new START treaty, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, has been approved to be voted on by the Senate. The Senate had seemed to stall on passing the treaty, which reduces American and Russian nuclear arsenals. The START treaty vote was incredibly close.

Senate barely ratifies new START treaty

The U.S. Senate has passed a cloture motion, clearing the way to a final vote on the new START treaty after a tumultuous few days of debate and some harangues between partisan factions. Cloture is a part of parliamentary procedure, which forces debate to wrap up and a vote to be held. The START treaty vote for cloture was incredibly close, as it just barely cleared the necessary two-thirds majority with a vote of 67 for and 28 against, according to the New York Times. In all, there were eleven Republicans who crossed party lines and voted to kill debate. No Democrats voted against it. Though the treaty did pass, it did so by only two votes. There will still be a Democrat controlled Senate in 2011, but the lead will be even slimmer.

Old saw forms basis of objections

The biggest thorn in the sides of Republicans over this bill was mostly over missile defense. Missile defense systems have been a huge issue for decades, especially during the Reagan administration when the Strategic Defense Initiative or the “Star Wars” program, was an enormous national priority, though the program wasted billions of dollars, produced no results and was known to not be feasible to begin with. Senate Republicans wanted to ensure that the treaty did not impinge on the capability to develop and deploy missile defenses at home or possibly in Europe, though John McCain (R-AZ) had assured that it would not.

Final vote still pending

The final vote on the treaty, New START, may take place before Christmas. If the treaty passes, it will reduce the number of U.S. Warheads to 1,550 and number of launchers to 700. Then it must be approved by the Duma, the Russian legislature.


New York Times

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