News / USA

Democrats Push For Approval of Arms Control Treaty This Year

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, flanked by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., left, and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., talks about the START Treaty following their meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, 17 Nov 2010
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, flanked by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., left, and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., talks about the START Treaty following their meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, 17 Nov 2010

Multimedia

The Obama administration is stepping up pressure on the U.S. Senate to ratify a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. Called the New START treaty, it builds on a landmark arms control agreement signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1991.

The initial accord expired last year, and the fate of its successor might hinge on the ability of the U.S. Senate to act in a brief, end-of-year session. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a high-profile visit to urge prompt ratification of the treaty.

It is called a "full court press" - an all-out administration effort to get key legislation approved by Congress. On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden issued a strongly-worded statement warning of grave consequences for U.S. national security if the New START accord is not ratified. The next day, Secretary of State Clinton underscored the point in a corridor near the floor of the U.S. Senate.

"It is, to me, essential that we bring this [treaty] before the Senate. For anyone to think we can postpone it or avoid it is, I am afraid, vastly underestimating the continuing [nuclear] threat that is posed to our country," said Clinton.

Under the New START treaty, U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals would be reduced by as much as a third.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts, highlighted the treaty's benefits and the dangers posed by the status quo.

"Here we have a treaty that, for the first time, provides additional ability to count warheads on both sides," said Kerry. "Here we have a treaty that allows us to have a spot, [unannounced] random inspection to find out what the other side is doing.  But for one year now, we have had no inspections, no American boots on the ground in Russia able to protect American interests."

But some Senate Republicans are less than enthusiastic about the treaty. Jon Kyl of Arizona issued a statement Tuesday, saying that the Senate's busy schedule does not permit full consideration of the treaty before the new Congress convenes in January.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said he favors arms control, but that he has concerns about New START treaty.

"I think it would be good to have a treaty," said Graham. "But this treaty cannot infringe on the ability of the United States to deploy missile defense systems we think are vital to our national security or [that of] our allies. There is some language in the treaty that creates doubts in [Senate] members' minds. The second hurdle is modernization. Many Republicans, like myself, believe we would be better off with a treaty than without [one, but] - only if we modernize our nuclear deterrent force."

The Obama administration has signaled it intends to increase an $80-billion plan to upgrade and modernize America's nuclear infrastructure.

One of the few Republicans to support ratification of the New START accord is Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, who said he, too, supports nuclear modernization. He adds, however, that the United States can act to improve nuclear security by ratifying the treaty.

"This is very serious. 13,300 [Russian] nuclear warheads aimed at us - our cities, our military installations - everything we have. Thirteen-thousand-three-hundred. Any one of those warheads could obliterate the city of Indianapolis, Indiana [The state's largest city]."

The U.S. Constitution mandates that treaties be negotiated by the executive branch and ratified by the Senate.

Most analysts say ratification will be more challenging come January, when the Democrats' Senate majority will be greatly reduced.

Related video report by Carolyn Presutti:

You May Like

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis Rally Against Racism

PM Netanyahu says he will meet Damas Pakada, the Ethiopia-born Israeli soldier who was filmed being beaten by two policemen More

Multimedia Ten Migrants Drown in Mediterranean, 4,800 Rescued

All of those rescued are being ferried to Italian ports, with some arriving on Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, and others taken to Sicily and Calabria More

HRW: Saudis Using US Cluster Bombs in Yemen

Human Rights Watch says photographs, video and other evidence have emerged indicating cluster munitions have been used in 'recent weeks' in airstrikes in Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen More

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.
Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalistsi
X
May 04, 2015 3:32 PM
Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs