News / USA

    Key Votes Loom for US-Russia Nuclear Treaty

    Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., center, speaks as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., left, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., listen after a closed Senate session in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010.
    Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., center, speaks as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., left, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., listen after a closed Senate session in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010.
    Michael Bowman

    By a margin of nearly two-to-one, the U.S. Senate on Monday rejected more Republican-sponsored amendments to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START accord, with Russia.  Treaty proponents hope for a final vote later this week, despite objections from a bloc of Republicans who are strongly opposed to ratification in the waning days of an end-of-year congressional session.  

    The Senate voted down three amendments put forth by Republican critics of the New START treaty.  One amendment would have boosted the number of inspections performed at nuclear facilities.  Another would have raised the number of nuclear launchers permitted by the accord.

    As written, the pact would limit the United States and Russia to roughly 1,500 deployed long-range nuclear warheads, and 700 delivery systems such as intercontinental ballistic missiles and heavy bombers.  A third amendment would have committed the United States and Russia to future negotiations on tactical nuclear weapons, which are not covered by the New START treaty.

    Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010.
    Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010.

    A frustrated minority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, criticized Democratic resistance to modifying the accord. "If it is the position of the majority that the treaty cannot be amended, why have any debate at all?"

    Treaty proponents say the goal of the Republican amendments is not to improve the treaty, but to kill it because any changes would send it back to Moscow for approval.  Russia's foreign minister has warned against rewriting the accord.

    The treaty is one of numerous measures the Senate has taken up since the November midterm elections that boosted Republican numbers in both houses of Congress.

    McConnell criticized what he says are Democratic efforts to ram divisive bills through the legislature before the new Congress arrives next month. He said the New START treaty deserves careful consideration and should be postponed.

    "A decision of this magnitude should not be decided under the pressure of a deadline.  The American people do not want us to squeeze our most important work into the final days of a [legislative] session," said McConnell.

    "Is there no shame, ever, with respect to the arguments made on the floor of the United States Senate?," asked Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "This treaty is not being rushed.  This treaty was delayed at the request of Republicans.  Today marks our sixth day of debate on the New START treaty.  That's a fact."

    At the White House, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the treaty has had ample vetting and that President Barack Obama is lobbying senators to support the pact. "The White House believes that before Congress leaves town, the Senate will ratify the New START treaty," he said.

    Senators met in closed session for private discussions on the treaty. Afterward, Senator Kerry said senators were read a letter from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, describing the New START accord as critical for national security.

    The treaty faces two important tests in the coming days.  A procedural vote that is expected on Tuesday will require at least a three-fifths majority to advance the treaty to a final vote, which could come as early as Wednesday.  The treaty then would need at least two-thirds backing for ratification.  Sixty-six of 100 senators voted in favor of opening debate on the accord last week.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora