News / USA

President Obama Challenges Republicans to Approve START Treaty

Barack Obama delivers his weekly address, 20 Nov 2010
Barack Obama delivers his weekly address, 20 Nov 2010
Alex Villarreal

U.S. President Barack Obama is urging senators to approve a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia before the end of the year. The president used his weekly radio and Internet address to step up criticism of Senate Republicans working to delay the vote.

President Obama says the agreement to cut the U.S. and Russia's deployed nuclear arsenals by 30 percent is "fundamental" to U.S. national security.

Delivering his weekly address from a NATO summit in Portugal, Mr. Obama said failing to pass the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty would be a "dangerous gamble," leaving the U.S. with no way to ensure its security is protected.

"It has already been 11 months since we had inspectors in Russia, and every day that goes by without ratification is a day that we lose confidence in our understanding of Russia's nuclear weapons. If the Senate does not act this year - after six months, 18 hearings, and nearly a thousand questions answered - it would have to start over from scratch in January," he said.

President Obama said Republicans trying to block the vote are going against the rule of the late former President Ronald Reagan, "Trust, but verify."

He said ending the year without a new START treaty could also cost the U.S. Russia's support on other issues.

"Without ratification, we put at risk the coalition that we have built to put pressure on Iran, and the transit routes through Russia that we use to equip our troops in Afghanistan. And without ratification, we risk undoing decades of American leadership on nuclear security and decades of bipartisanship on this issue. Our security and our position in the world are at stake," said the president.

President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the new agreement in April.

Senator Jon Kyl, the Republican negotiator on the issue, has resisted Mr. Obama's efforts to hold the vote on the treaty before the new Congress takes office in January with a stronger Republican presence.

President Obama addressed concerns raised by Kyl and other Republicans, saying the new START treaty will not harm U.S. missile defense efforts and vowing to invest at least $85 billion in efforts to modernize the U.S. nuclear infrastructure over the next 10 years.

Saturday's weekly Republican address focused on domestic issues. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell accused the administration of not doing enough to reduce unemployment, which remains near 10 percent. McConnell urged President Obama to extend tax cuts that expire this year, saying raising taxes will only cost the country more jobs.

"It is time Congress got its priorities straight," he said. "It is time Congress focused on job creation. And that means preventing tax hikes. It is time to set aside the political votes and government spending that the administration and Democratic leaders have put above all other priorities for two years. Time is running out, but it is not too late."

Mr. Obama supports extending the tax cuts only on the first $250,000 a family earns in a year, but McConnell says Americans do not think anyone should have to face higher taxes, especially in the middle of a recession.

Watch weekly Rebublican address:

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs