News / USA

Republicans Unmoved by Obama Administration Pleas for New START Ratification

Senator Lindsey Graham (file photo)
Senator Lindsey Graham (file photo)
Michael Bowman

The Obama administration is making an impassioned plea for Senate ratification of a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russia that could reduce arsenals by one-third. Legislative endorsement of the New START treaty is far from assured in an end-of-year congressional session, with Republicans continuing to express misgivings about the pact.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden said failure to ratify the New START treaty would endanger U.S. national security. Without the pact, the vice president said, there will be no Americans on the ground to inspect Russia's nuclear program, and no verified reductions in the two nations' arsenals which, combined, account for 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.

Some Republicans appear unmoved. Asked if the administration has convinced him to vote for ratification, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham had two words:

"Not yet," said Graham.

Graham told VOA he favors arms control, but continues to have concerns about New START.

"I think it would be good to have a treaty," he said. "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 members' minds. The second hurdle is modernization. Many Republicans like myself believe we would be better off with a treaty than without [but] only if we modernize our nuclear deterrent force."

Under President Barack Obama, the United States has scrapped plans to install missile shield systems in Eastern Europe. Russia has strongly objected to the U.S. missile defense program, despite Washington's assurances that the goal is to block any missiles that potentially could be launched from Iran or North Korea.

In his statement, Vice President Biden said the administration intends to further boost an $80 billion plan to upgrade and modernize America's nuclear infrastructure.

If Republican objections weren't enough, the Senate may also be running out of time to debate and vote on New START in an end-of-year session. Asked about the ticking clock, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts, struck a defiant tone.

"This is a treaty involving the security of our country," said Kerry. "And if we do not have time to deal with the security of our country, [then] something is really wrong with the Senate. We have to deal with this. Our relationship with Russia is at stake. Six secretaries of state and five secretaries of defense under [former Presidents] Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Nixon and Ford have all said we should ratify this treaty."

The Democrats' Senate majority will be greatly reduced beginning next year, making ratification even more challenging in the eyes of many analysts.

The Obama administration's all-out effort to secure ratification continues Wednesday, with a planned appearance in the Capitol by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Senator Kerry and a Republican backer of the pact, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana.  

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid