The new START Treaty has passed the Senate 71-26, accomplishing another major White House policy goal. Maybe there should be more “lame duck” sessions.
Under the treaty, Russia and the United States agree to limit the number of nuclear warheads to 1,550 each, down from the ceiling of 2,200. The pact also establishes a system for monitoring and verification. The treaty was signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on April 8.
Ratification required 67 votes. Passage seemed assured on Tuesday when 11 Republicans joined 56 Democrats to vote for cloture on the measure.
In spite of support from every former Secretary of State, Republicans such as John Cornyn of Texas didn’t want the treaty to be passed.
“You ask what is the relevance of this to consideration to the START treaty,” Cornyn chided. “I fear that the New START treaty will serve as another data in a narrative of weakness, pursuing diplomacy for its own sake or indulging in a utopian dream of a world without nuclear weapons divorced from hard reality.”
Cornyn closed by urging defeat of the START agreement to prove that the era of “unilateral American concessions is over.”