There is still an excellent chance that the New START agreement gets considered in the post-election lame duck session.
Despite the cries of gloom and doom by some naysayers.
Look at what a spokesman for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a Weekly Standard piece.
Don Stewart, the press spokesman, says he thinks that Democrats “probably” will not be able to get New START completed before the end of the year.
He did not say it cannot happen.
He did not say Hell No!
He did not say, No way, No how.
Let’s take a closer look at Stewart’s statement.
Treaty ratification, he says, will not happen before Illinois Senator-elect Mark Kirk gets sworn in, probably around November 29.
So the treaty will not come up the week of November 15 when the Senate returns.
“It won’t happen that first week….Because they’ve already set up the votes for that week.”
We already knew that. We knew the treaty would not come up the week of November 15. In fact, we hope that Senators Reid and McConnell agree to a time agreement in the first week back for the Senate to bring up the treaty some time in December.
Stewart mentions the heavy schedule of legislation for the lame duck.
We recognize that getting New START this year is a heavy lift, but it is still very possible. There’s certainly no substantive reason not to consider the treaty, as our military leadership has noted time and time again.
And most former senior Republican national security officials.
And reading between McConnell’s spokesman lines, or at least what he does not say, the door is still open to bringing the treaty up.
Will Reid Schedule a Vote on START?
Daniel Halper – November 8, 2010 6:47 PM
Conservative foreign policy wonks are worried that the Democratic majority in the Senate might try to squeeze through the new START agreement before the influx of new Republican senators come to work in January. But Don Stewart, spokesman for Republican leader Senator Mitch McConnell, thinks that the Democrats probably will not be able to get new START through during the lame duck session, and almost certainly not before Senator-elect Mark Kirk is sworn, which will happen probably around Thanksgiving.
Given the planned schedule, Stewart says, “It won’t happen that first week….Because they’ve already set up the votes for that week.”
To change the schedule around, “It will take unanimous consent to get off the [current schedule],” and that’s pretty unlikely. Plus, “There isn’t unanimous consent, so you’d have to go through a cloture vote, which would take days.”
Stewart also cites the Senate’s busy work schedule to suggest that even after Senator-elect Kirk is sworn in, the Democratic majority will have to contend with a full docket before even considering new START. The Senate has to deal with budget issues, tax issues, and a slew of other minor bills and end-of-year business before even getting chance to consider the controversial treaty.
New START is a follow-on agreement with the Russians for both countries to reduce the nuclear arms in each country’s arsenal. President Obama signed the agreement with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, but, according to the U.S. Constitution, all treaties must be ratified by the Senate in order to be valid.