Senate Foreign Relations Committee Vote on New START a Win for U.S. National Security

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 16, 2010
CONTACT: Kingston Reif, Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation, 202.546.0795, ext. 2103

Washington, D.C. – Council for a Livable World today praised the bipartisan vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to approve the New START nuclear reductions treaty by a vote of 14-4 and urged prompt consideration of the treaty by the full Senate.

Republicans Richard Lugar (R-IN), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) joined the 11 Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote in support of the resolution of ratification. The resolution contains a number of conditions and declarations that clarify the Committee’s interpretation of the treaty.

“In a political climate paralyzed by partisanship on other issues, this bipartisan vote of approval demonstrates an important commitment to reducing the dangers posed by nuclear weapons,� said John Isaacs, Executive Director of the Council. “The bipartisan support for the treaty in the Committee provides a big momentum boost that bodes well for approval of the treaty during floor consideration by the full Senate. Committee Chairman John Kerry and Ranking Member Richard Lugar should be applauded for their leadership.�

Isaacs added: “New START strengthens U.S. national security because it will promote stability and predictability in the U.S.-Russia nuclear relationship. For these reasons and many more, the treaty is unanimously supported by the US military leadership and is backed by five former secretaries of defense, six former secretaries of state and seven former heads of the military command in charge of our nuclear weapons. We are glad that Senators on the Committee listened to their advice.�

The pact now moves to the full Senate, where it will await Senate floor debate and a final vote. The treaty requires 67 votes for approval.

“The full Senate’s approval of New START is an urgent national security priority,� said Kingston Reif, the Council’s Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation. “The United States has not conducted an on-site inspection of Russia’s nuclear arsenal in over 285 days and counting. The sooner the full Senate debates and votes to approve the treaty, the sooner U.S. inspectors can return to Russia and resume monitoring Moscow’s still enormous nuclear arsenal.�

Reif added: “Previous arms control agreements between the U.S. and Russia have been approved by overwhelming margins. The resolution of ratification passed by the Committee answers the questions that have been raised about the treaty during the Senate’s deliberation and deserves a similar outpouring of support.�