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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Senate moves on nuclear arms treaty

The Senate plunged into debate on a new U.S.-Russia arms control treaty Wednesday after Democrats secured the backing of a significant number of Republicans in a crucial test vote of President Barack Obama’s top foreign policy priority.

The White House and senior Democrats have expressed confidence that they had the two-thirds majority needed for ratification in the Senate. In a fresh sign of momentum, Democrats easily prevailed, 66-32, to move forward on the pact, winning the support of nine Republicans. Among the GOP senators was Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Obama’s 2008 presidential rival and a top lawmaker on national security issues.


Obama has said he is prepared to delay a planned holiday vacation until the treaty is completed, elevating the measure to year-end, must-do status along with the tax deal he cut with Republicans. Democrats are determined to push the treaty through the Senate in hopes of giving Obama a foreign policy victory before the GOP grabs more power next year.

Still, several Republicans, led by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., objected to considering the treaty in the waning days of Congress’ lame-duck session, insisting the Senate should wait until next year. Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Saxby Chambless of Georgia said they could support the treaty but not under the current timetable. Alexander told reporters it was “reckless.”
Treasure Coast Newspapers

The Stuart News, Dec. 16, 2010, page A8 

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