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White House and State Department Continue to Urge Obstructionist GOP to Ratify New START Treaty

November 18, 2010

The GOP is more interested in obstructing anything that in any way is associated with the word “democrat” or “Obama,” national security be damned:

US President Barack Obama has called the ratification of a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia “a national security imperative”, adding that the US Senate must act before a new Congress arrives.

The treaty would reduce both countries’ nuclear arsenals and allow each to inspect the other’s facilities.

Mr Obama has expressed confidence the measure will pass successfully.

The announcement comes one day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Congress to ratify the treaty.

In a move to influence current members of the US Senate, Mr Obama made the announcement about the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty while surrounded by former secretaries of state and defence from both major political parties.

“There is no higher national security priority for the lame duck session of Congress,” Mr Obama said, referring to the time between November’s congressional elections and the January start of the new Congress.

“If we ratify this treaty, we’re going to have a verification regime in place to track Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons, including US inspectors on the ground,” he added.

[snip]

The Obama administration needs eight Republican votes to reach the 67 needed to ratify the treaty – but that number will increase to 14 when the new Congress convenes in January, as the Republicans won more Senate seats in the mid-term elections.

In a rare appearance at the US Capitol on Wednesday, Mrs Clinton spoke alongside Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry and Republican Senator Richard Lugar, also urging the Senate to ratify the treaty in response to a “continuing threat that is posed to our country”.

A lot of star power in this effort and bipartisan too (as it should be):

President Barack Obama (2nd R) makes a statement during a meeting on the New START treaty in the Roosevelt Room of the White House November 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. With Obama are (L-R) U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Obama, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Vice Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James E. Cartwright, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA), U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN). The New START treaty is a nuclear disarmament treaty between the United States and Russia. (Photo by Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images)

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