Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a statement upon the signing of the new START treaty (I really want to pump the “Prague Treaty” into the media bloodstream, but it looks like it isn’t happening) that expressed confidence he would be able to find the 67 votes needed for ratification. Reid cited three committees – Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Intelligence – that would be involved in bringing this bill to the floor.
Strategic arms control treaties similar to this one have historically passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support, and I am confident that this agreement will receive the 67 votes from both sides of the aisle needed for passage. There is no need to play politics with something as important as this is to our national security. I look forward to passing this out of committee and working with Chairs Kerry, Levin and Feinstein to bring this treaty to the Senate floor.
“Today’s signing of the START treaty strengthens our security while affirming the vital role the nuclear arsenal plays in our nation’s defense. I will work closely with Senator Lugar and our colleagues to see that this historic treaty is ratified this year.
“The White House has indicated that the full treaty will be completed and submitted to the Senate in early May. I plan to begin hearings on the treaty in the coming weeks, and then report a proposed resolution of advice and consent to ratification out of the Foreign Relations Committee for approval by the full Senate as soon as possible.
“The Senate has a long history of approving strategic arms control treaties by overwhelming margins and I am confident we will renew that spirit of cooperation and bipartisan tradition on arms control and national security to approve ratification of this vital treaty. This is too important to delay.”
There’s an awful lot of focus on “long histories” in both statements, which may not reflect current partisan realities. Ranking member on Foreign Relations Dick Lugar previously signaled support for the treaty, so it’s likely to get out of committee unscathed, but I have trouble counting to 8 – the number of Republicans who would be needed for passage. And that’s assuming that hawkish types like Joe Lieberman and Jim Webb don’t bolt.
Between now and then, expect to hear a lot of bogus nonsense about missile defense.