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 VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid