Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New START Treaty: Final Vote Could Be Wednesday

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New START Treaty: Final Vote Could Be Wednesday

Article excerpt

The Senate voted 67 to 28 Tuesday to move to a final vote on the new START treaty. Ratification would constitute a big political victory for a president who took a beating in the midterm elections.

The Senate's 67-to-28 vote Tuesday to close debate and move to a final vote on the new START nuclear-arms reduction accord with Russia means that President Obama is all but certain to get the foreign-policy Christmas present he wanted.

A final vote to ratify the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that Mr. Obama signed with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April is expected as early as Wednesday. If, as expected, "New START" is ratified, it will be the first time that an arms-control treaty negotiated by a Democratic president has garnered the required two-thirds vote of the Senate.

"What this [vote] represents is a victory for a broad national- security consensus," says Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a Washington foundation focused on nuclear- weapons policy. He predicts a final vote for ratification of about 70 senators.

Ratification, Mr. Cirincione says, would signify that the opinion of the top military leadership and a broad spectrum of former national-security leaders carried the day over partisanship.

The Senate's two top Republicans had announced their opposition to ratification in the current lame-duck session, and other Republicans continue to voice concerns that the treaty limits the United States in moving forward on missile-defense systems.

Still, the 67 votes in favor of Tuesday's motion to close debate suggest that the treaty will be approved.

Ratification would constitute a big political victory for a president who just a month ago seemed down for the count before an opposition buoyed by the midterm elections. Obama was being compared to President Carter - who, Cirincione points out, was forced to pull the SALT II arms-reduction treaty negotiated by his administration. …

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