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START Debate Started

December 16, 2010

Yesterday the Senate voted to consider the New START Treaty between the U.S. and Russia. The New START Agreement, which limits the strategic offensive arms of both the U.S. and the Russian Federation, was signed by Presidents Obama and Medvedev in April. The U.S. constitution requires that two-thirds of the Senate – 67 votes – must approve any treaty.

Yesterday’s 66-32 procedural vote, in which 53 Democrats and 9 Republicans voted to consider the treaty, indicates that when the treaty is brought to a final vote it will pass. Two senators, Evan Bayh and Michael Enzi, did not vote. Bayh was out of town during the vote yesterday, but issued a press release saying he will vote to ratify the treaty, bringing the Yea votes to the 67 required for ratification.

Senate Majority Leader Reid is expected to stop debate on START, either later today or tomorrow, and move to take up the appropriation bill, as part of an effort to dual-track bills in order to accomplish more during the lame-duck session. After the Senate completes floor action on the appropriations bill, it will return to START. There will be additional days of debate on amendments and eventually final passage. We do not expect a final vote on the treaty before early next week.

Please help us increase the margin of victory by calling your senators and asking them to vote for New START before the end of the lame-duck session. Call you senators today: 888-475-8162. After you have called your senators, please ask five friends to call as well.

A strong bipartisan vote in support of New START increases the prospects for ratification of future arms reduction treaties.

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