Sunday, November 28, 2010

Republicans (Party of No!) Delaying Passage of START (resulting in Nuclear Proliferation) to Continue their Own Agenda!

On Meet the Press this morning, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) made it very clear that Republicans prefer to push their top two agenda items (1. Tax Cuts for the Rich; 2. Defeat Obama in 2012) even if it means risking Nuclear Proliferation.
Kyl said he would not vote for the passage of the new START Treaty in the upcoming vote during the Lame Duck session. His excuse: "We don't have enough time." However, his argument is bogus. It ignores the fact that the treaty has already been exhaustively vetted. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee conducted 18 hearings and five briefings and the Obama Administration answered 900 submitted questions during the committee's process this summer. In September, with a bipartisan vote of 14 to 4, the committee recommended ratification of the treaty. It would only take two to three days for the Senate to consider and vote on ratification. The START I treaty had only 5 days of Senate floor debate, the SORT treaty two days, the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty two days and the Chemical Weapons Convention two days.

Republican Kyl has shown a real unwillingness to get the ball rolling with respect to START. He clearly is attempting to make this a partisan issue and is instead promoting continued tax cuts for the top 2% of richest Americans.

Republican Kyl continues to lead the charge for the "Party of No!" Weeks prior to his appearance on "Meet the Press," Kyl demanded that the administration include additional funds for nuclear weapons modernization as part of the overall package. When the White House acquiesced, his complaints about the measure focused on the need to ensure U.S. nuclear weapons deterrence. Those concerns have been called overblown by the treaty's defenders. But as the clock has continued to tick, both Kyl and others in the GOP tent have been handed another reason to drag their feet: a closing window for consideration in the lame duck Congress.

The possible derailment of the Senate ratification of the new START treaty signed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April may be devastating. If a handful of primarily Republican U.S. senators succeed in their efforts to block ratification of the New START treaty this year, we face losing Russia's support and partnership for tough sanctions on Iran and securing all nuclear materials globally so they don't fall into the hands of terrorists. The nuclear terrorism is the most urgent threat we face today and locking down all nuclear materials is a national security imperative. But without Russia's cooperation in those goals, an effective international effort may be impossible to achieve.

On Meet the Press, Kyl would NOT address his reasons for opposing this vitally needed treaty. Kyl sneered when he talked saying he needed more time and Harry Reed's "pushing so many other initiatives in so short a time." His sneer was largest when he spoke of his opposition to "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and "The Dream Act" during the lame duck session. His sneering reflected his extremely ANTI Gay / Latino biases.

Later in the program, Kyl was asked about his cohort, Mitch McConnell's quote "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president" (not the Economy, Jobs, the American People) Kyl laughed and said it was just political.

The START Treaty is supported by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen; high-ranking members of the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, H. W. Bush, Clinton, and W. Bush administrations -- including such national security experts as George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, James Baker and Brent Scowcroft; the current commander and seven former commanders of U.S. Strategic Command and the entire current U.S. military leadership. Admiral Mullen said the treaty "allows us to retain a strong and flexible American nuclear deterrent.... I believe, and the rest of the military leadership in this country believes, that this treaty is essential to our future security.... I hope the Senate will ratify it quickly."

Given the stakes and urgency for our national security, our Senators should be able to spare two to three days to consider and vote on the New START treaty before they break for the Christmas holiday. Certainly, a ratified new START treaty would be ample reason to celebrate the New Year.

1 comment:

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