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Reply #17: article in Slate: Going to War over a Treaty [View All]

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MBS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-17-10 06:22 PM
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17. article in Slate: Going to War over a Treaty
Edited on Wed Nov-17-10 06:23 PM by MBS /
some excerpts. .
. . . During the G-20 meeting last week, Obama told Russian President Dmitry Medvedevwith whom he co-signed the treaty in Aprilthat getting New START ratified would be his top priority during the lame duck session. At that point, Kyl seemed close to endorsing the accordand Kyl has positioned himself as the Republicans' go-to senator on political negotiations over nuclear matters. The word went out: If Kyl said the treaty was OK, it would pass. If he didn't, it wouldn't. . .
After the midterms, when ratification became urgent, Obama intensified his efforts to bring Kyl around, dispatching senior officers and officials to Arizona for negotiations. For instance, Kyl had claimed in his Journal piece that the nuclear budget for the next fiscal year fell $2.4 billion short of what was needed. Obama's emissaries agreed to add $4.1 billion.

Apparently, that wasn't enoughmuch to the surprise of Obama and his aides, who'd received no advance word of Kyl's announcement on Tuesday. Rather than cave, the administration is doubling down, pushing full steam ahead for a vote on ratification during the lame duck session. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton each made speeches, arguing that the treaty is essential to the national security. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, re-emphasized the point in a speech this morning, with Clinton by his side. She and Gates are reaching out to wavering senators.

In his news conference today, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the president has the votes to ratify the treaty. Even some Democrats privately say they're not so sure. But the suggestion isn't so outrageous as some of this morning's headlines suggest.

First, as Kerry said in his speech today, Kyl didn't quite shut the door on ratification. Here's Kyl's statement in full:

When Majority Leader Harry Reid asked me if I thought the treaty could be considered in the lame duck session, I replied I did not think so given the combination of other work Congress must do and the complex and unresolved issues related to START and modernization. I appreciate the recent effort by the Administration to address some of the issues that we have raised and I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Kerry, DoD and DoE officials.

.. .As for the other work on the table, he seemed to be tossing the ball back to Obama: Which agenda do you value moretax cuts or this? As for "unresolved issues," there are none related to New START. A few months ago, at Republicans' request, Kerry agreed to put off a floor vote on the treaty, so that everyone could examine the text and raise their concerns. Kerry said today he has since reached out to all the senators who'd had questions and that, as of now, there is "no substantive disagreement" on the treaty itself. (For more analysis of this truth, click here and here.). . .

More (including live links to the "here" and "here" in last quoted sentence) at the url.

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