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

    US, Allies Discuss Next Steps in Islamic State Fight

    Meeting comes a day after US Navy SEAL was killed while fighting Islamic State forces in northern Iraq

    In China, Traditional Banks Fight Challenge From Internet Firms

    Internet companies lent more than $150 billion to customers in 2015, which is an extremely small amount compared to the much larger lending by commercial banks last year

    Trump Faces Tough Presidential Odds Against Clinton

    Numerous national election surveys show former secretary of state defeating presumptive Republican nominee with tough talk to halt illegal immigration and temporarily block Muslims from entering country

    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.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora