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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid